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• OF. 


From the Earliest Times to the Present Day. 



IVLA., PH.D., LL.B. 



VOXi. I. 





,■ t 

Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1901 by 
In the ofllce of the Librarian of Congress at 'Washington. 

All riglits of translation and reproduction reserved. 

















The English speaking branch of the Aryan race is 
penetrating into every department of human knowl- 
edge. Books have been written on every conceivable 
subject. Yet up to the present time the vast field of 
Swedish History has not been explored by English 
and American students. No complete history of Swe- 
den is to be found on the shelves of public or private 
libraries. Only a few scattered chapters from that 
great volume are accessible to the English reader. 

This I discovered when pursuing my studies at 
Yale University, and thereupon determined to supply 
this want. Though busily engaged in the legal pro- 
fession, I have nevertheless devoted my vacations and 
leisure hours to this great undertaking. Now after 
twenty-five years of study and investigation spent in 
collecting and arranging the materials, and after visit- 
ing the battlefields and all other places of interest 
herein described, I place the fruits of my labors before 
the public. 

And I here wish to express my gratitude to my 
friend, Shirley M. K. Gandell, M. A, Oxford, not ofily 
for his suggestions and assistance in the preparation 
and correction of the manuscript, but also for proof- 
reading the whole work. His erudition apd time 


have been generously given, and therefore it is a pleas- 
ure to link his name with these pages. 

Although the leaves of these volumes are not 
burdened by constant references to authorities upon 
which the narrative or the arguments are based, the 
work is none the less scientific in its scope. 

Only a partial list of the many authorities read and 
consulted can here be given, yet it includes: — 

The Icelandic Elder Edda and Younger Edda, (2 vols.)- 

Sander's Samund's Edda, (1 vol.). 

Anderson's Younger Edda, (1 vol.). 

Snorre Sturlason's Heimskringla, (2 voia.). 

Snorre. Sturlason's Heimskringla by Laing, (4 vols.). 

Murray's Manual of Mythology, (1 vol.). 

Petersen's Nordisk Mythologi, (1 vol.). 

Anderson's Norse Mythology, (1 vol.). 

Dr. Eydberg's Teutonic Mythology, (1 vol.). 

Holmberg's ■ Skandinaviens Hallristningar, (1 vol.), and 
Nordbon under hednatiden, (1 vol.). 

Dybeck's Euna, and Sveriges Eunurkunder. 

Eydquist's Svenska sprakets Lagar (6 vols.). 

Portion of Ulfilas' New Testament. 

Olaus Magnus' History of the Swedes and Goths, (1 vol.). 

Saxo Grammatieus' History of Denmark, (1 vol.). 

West Gota Lagen, (1 vol.). 

Dr. Schlyter's Sveriges Gamk Lagar, (13 vols.). 


Strinnholm's Sveriges Historid, (3 vols.). 

Svenskt Diplomatorium. 

Handlingar rorande Sveriges Historia. 

Geijer's Svea Eikes Hafder; Svenska Folkets Historia och 
Samlade Skrifter (10 vols.). 

The History of the Swedish People, (1 vol.). 

Fryxell's Berattelser ur Svenska Historien (46 vols.). 

Starback-Backstrom-Svenska Historien, (10 vols.). 

Odhner's Sveriges Historia, 


Sillen's Svenska Handelns Historia. 

Nauman's Sveriges Grundlagar, Norges Gnindlov och Sven- 
ska Statsforfattningens Historia (2 vols.). 

Sveriges Rikes Lag RevisionSj 1736 — 1864. 

Thurgren's Svenska Lagfarenhet. 

Afzelius' Svenska Folkets Sagohafder, (13 vols.). 

Abraham Cronholm's Sveriges Historia under Gustaf II. 
Adolf och Trettioariga Kriget (8 vols.). 

F. F. Carlson's Sveriges Historia, Carl X., Carl XI., Carl 
Xn., (5 vpls.). 

Montelius, Hildebrand, Alin, Veibul, Hojer, Tengberg, 
Boethius, Save, etc. Sveriges Historia fran aldsta tid till vara 
dagar. (6 vols.). 

Biografiskt Lexicon ofver namnkunniga svenska man (23 
vols.), Ny Foljd (10 vols.). 

Nordisk Familjebok och Conversations Lexikon, etc., (8 

Hofberg's Biografiskt Lexikon (2 vols.). 

Bernard von Beskow's Om Gustaf III. som Konung och Men- 
niska (5 vols.). 

Voltaire's Charles XII. (1 vol.). 

E. Tegner's — Armfelts Biografi, (2 vols.). 

M. J. Crusenstolpe, (3 vols.). 

Esaias Tegner's samlade skrifter, (7 vols.). 

Cornelius' Svenska Kyrkans Historia. 

Strindberg's Svenska Folket (3 vols.). 

Claeson's Svenska Literaturens Historia. 

Bache's Nordens (Danmarks, Sveriges och Norges) Historia. 
(5 vols.). 

Holland's Jenny Lind Goldschmidt, (2 vols.). 

Tacitus' De Germania, Histories. 

Schiller's Geschichte des Dreissigjahringen Kriegs. 

Menzell's History of Germany, (3 vols.). 

Dr. Zimmerman's Popular History of Germany, (4 vols.). 

Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Einpire, (6 vols.). 

Timayenis' History of Greece, (2 vols.). 


Bradley's Story of the Goths. 

Miehaud's History of the Crusades, (3 toIs.). 

Rambaud's History of Eussia, (3 vols.). 

Swedenborg's Works, (35 vols.). 

Knight's History of England, (8 vols.). 

Hume's History of England, (6 vols.). 

Guizot's History of France, (8 vols.). 

Abbott's Napoleon, (2 vols.). 

Woolsey's International Laws. 

Treaties and Conventions between United States and 
other Powers. 

Treaty between Sweden and United States of America in 

Acrelius' History of New Sweden on the Delaware. 

And a large number of other authorities on Svedish History. 

References will also be found in the text to Swedish litera- 
ture in general, as well as to Swedish authors other than his- 

3039 Groveland Avenue, Chicago. 
November, 1901. 

NOTE. — In reference to the spelling of proper names, critics may 
take me to task for not agreeing with them; but many Swedish persons 
and localities are historic and their names have been Anglicized. Oth- 
erwise the names have been retained as spelled in Swedish, avoiding, 
however, the letters &, a, 6, the pronunciation of which may be unfamil- 
iar to the general reader. 




Location of the Kingdom of Sweden — Topography — Climate — Gulfstream 
— Svear and Gotar — Characteristics of the Swedes — ^King and Peo- 
ple — Early Inhabitants of Sweden — Greek and Roman Knowledge of 
the Country— Pythias in Thule — Pliny Visits Sweden — Tacitus on 
the Swedes and Goths — Historical Evidence — Manner of Life of 
the Early Inhabitants — ^I'he Lapps — Sources for the Historian — The 
Stone Age- — Mounds — Graves — Bronze Age — Swedes and Goths as 
Navigators — Dealings with Romans — West and East Goths and 
Swedes — The Runes — Tools 1—16 



Early Religion of the Swedes — Edda — Gylfe Seeks the Home* of the 
Gods — The Ginnungagap — Nifelheim — Muspelheim — Ymer — Frost- 
Giants — Audhumbla — Sons of Bori and the Asas — Odin — Creation of 
the World — Location of Midgard — Asgard and Hel — The Heavens — 
Stars— Odin — ^Thor — Gladsheim — YgdrasU — Mimer — Norns — Baldei 
— ^Frey — Freyja^Brage — ^Loke — ^Einherjars — Asa Faith Most Fully 
Developed in Sweden — Partly a. Worship of Nature — The Gods' 
Sympathy with Men — The Evil Giants — War and Confusion — 
Ragnarok — The Spirituality of the Religion — Influence on the 
Lives and Conduct of the People — ^Manner of Worship — Social Re- 
lations-^The Family — Tribe — Fylke — King and People — Election oi 
King 17—31 

xil. CO]<JTENTS. 



Ynglinga Saga — Odin — ^Asgard — Odin and Gylf© — Edda — Odin Settles at 
Sigtuna — Odin and His Followers — Character and Manners — Odin's 
Death — Mound — Njord — Sacrifices — Frey CaJled Yngve Founder of 
Yngling Dynasty — ^Upsala the Seat of Government of the Swedes — 
Upsala Temple's Magnificence — ^The Palace of the King — ^Destruc- 
tion — Freyja — Fjolner- — First of the Ynglings — Visit to Erode in 
Denmark — Death — Golden Age of Sweden — Svegder Ruler — His 
Travels and Death^-Visbur — His Two Wives — Murdered by His 
Sons — Donalde Ruler — Famine — Donalde Sacrificed — ^Domar Ruler- 
Famine Oracle — Disa — Complies with the Oracle — The People Saved 
— Domar's Death and Funeral — Dygve — Dag's Wisdom — ^Agne — Vik- 
ing Expeditions — Skjalf— His Wife — His Manner of Death — Alrek 
and Eric — Th« Manner of Their Death 32^—44 




Goths of Sweden — ^Migration and Route — Origin of the Goths on the 
Dnieper-Roman Provinces— Jordanes—Menzel's Account of the 
Goths— Ostrogoths and Visigoths— 'Tlieir Habitation in Sweden- 
Charles XII. and the Goths — Similarity of Language — ^Relation Be- 
tween Goths of Sweden and Goths of Southern Europe— Goths the 
Emperor's Guard — Roman Coins in Swedish Museum— Their Dates- 
Roman Subsidies Sent to Sweden— Tradition of the Goths in Sweden 
and Italy— Causes of Later Migrations— Goths in the Ukraine— In- 
va^on of the Roman Territory— First Conflict with Roman Ai-my- 
Cniva King of the Goths at the Walls of Nicopolis-Siege of Philip- 
popolis— Deeius Advances against' the Goths— They Retreat— Attack 
on the Romans- Plunder Their Camp— Destruction of Philip- 
popolis— Goths Surrounded by the Romans— Negotiations for Peace 
—Demands of the Roman Emperor— Battle of the Forum Terebronii 
—Death of the Emperor— Victory of the Goths— Conflict with the 
Huns— Death of Attila— Theodoric King of the Goths in Italy- 
Extinction of the Goths - 45 gy 

CONTENTS. xlil. 



Yngve and Alf — rngve a Great Warrior — Alliance with Goths against 
Rome — Ships and Uooty^-Alf s Jealousy of Bera — Double Murder— 
Hugleik King — Peace in the Land — Hake and Hagbard Invade 
Svithiod — Battle of Fyrisvall — Jorund and Sirik — Yngve's Sons 
Celebrated Vikings — Return to Upsala — Battle — Funeral Pyre of 
Hakon — Jorund King — Ane King — Invasion of thie Danes — Ane Sac- 
rifices Nine Sons — Death — Egil King — Treasurer Tunne Embezzler — 
Tunne's Conspiracy — Highway Robbers — Egil's Death — Ottar King — 
Adils Vikiilg in Saxland Marries Yr'sa — Helge Rules in Denmark — 
Rolf Krake Invades Svithiod — Scatters Gold on Fyrisvall — Adils' 
Death — Oesten Ruler — Sea Kings — Salve Victorious — Yngvar a 
Warrior- — Invasion of Eastern Counti-y — Anund Ruler — ^Encourages 
Husbandry — His Death — Iiigjald Ilrada's Banquet — Petty Kings 
Murdered — Ivar Vidfamne Destroys Ingjald — Olaf Tratalja — 
Descent of Norwegian Kings — Y'ngling Kings Extinct — Ivar Dynasty 
— Auda — Randver — Sigurd Ring — Harald of Denmark — ^War with 
King of Sweden — Battle of Bra valla — Harald's Funeral Pyre — Sigurd 
Ring's Death 58—73 




Sigurd Ring's Death — Ragnar Lodbrok King of the Swedes and Goths — 
Tora and the Snake Around Her Bower — Ragnar Kills the Snake 
and Tora becomes His Bride — Ragnar's Viking Expeditions to Eng- 
land and France — Manner of His Death — English and French His- 
torians on the Vikings — Swedish Vikings — The Varangians were 
Swedish Vikings in Russia — Rulers — Russian Laws — Russian His- 
torians Credit Foundation of Their Empire to Swedes — Their Manner 
of Fighting — The Ros — Varangians at Constantinople — Ambassadors 
to Louis of France — Detected as Swedes and Detained — Intermar- 
riage between Royal Houses of Sweden and Russia — Sudden Appear- 
ance of the Swedes all Over Europe — Their Expeditions — Superiority 
— Tribute from Russians — Elect Swedish Princes as Rulers — Nestor's 
Account — Ruric in Russia — Varangians in Russia, Hungary and 
Constantinople — ^Their Route — Emperor's Body Guard — Numbers — 
Superiority — Svealand and Gotaland Very Populous—Gardar Svav- 
arson Discovers Iceland — Runestones — Monument to Vikings — Mar- 
shals of Troops in Greece .' . ; 74 — 86 

xiv.. CONTENTS, 




Golden Age of the Norse Religion is Passed— Cruelty of the Vikings- 
Change in Sentiment — Harald Harfager's Profession — Longing After 
a Better Religion — Influence of Catholicism — Ansgar Preaching in 
Sweden A. D. 830 — Bjorn King (829) — Alsharjarting decides for 
Christianity in Sweden — ^Rimbert Bishop — ^ferie Conquers Trans- 
Baltic Provinces — Conflict with Harald Earfager — Gorm King of 
Denmark a Pagan — Danevirke — Tyra— Crusade against Denmark by 
Germany — Jomsburg — Styrbjorn Attacks Denmark — War on Eric 
Victorious in Sweden — Battle of Fyrisvall 983 — Eric Conquers tne 
Danes — Harald Returns to Denmark — Order of Battle — Sacrifices — 
Eric Victorious — Descendants of Styrbjorn — Eric Invades Denmark 
— Death — OlafKing of Sweden — Sigrid StoiTada — Marries Sven of 
Denmark — Norway in History — ^Petty Kings — Royal Dynasty of 
Norway — Harald — Eric Blood, Axe — Hakon the Good — Harald Gra- 
fall — Jarl Hakon — Olaf Trygvesson as Viking and Christian — ^At- 
tacked by Sweden and Denmark at Svolder — Olaf Trygvesson's 
Death 87—100 




Peace After Battle of Svolder — Progress of Christianity in Denmark 
and ' Sweden — St. Sigfrid — Supremacy of Sweden — Olaf Lapking a 
Christian— Danish Influence in England — Canute the Great — ^Harald 
Grenske — Olaf the .Saint of Norway — His Offer of Peace to Sweden 
and Torgny— Disa Ting at Upsala— King Olaf Lapking's Wrath — Torg- 
ny's Speech- — ^The King Yields — Olaf of Norway Marries Astrid — 
Ingegard Marries Jaroslav— West Goths Incensed at Their King— 
Anund Jacob Elected King — Canute the Great Begins War on Swed- 
en and Norway — Is Defeated — Stirs Up the Norwegians against Olaf 
^His Flight— Return— Battle of Stiklarstad— Olaf Killed— Change 
in Sentiments — Olaf Canonized as St. Olaf— Magnus Drives the Danes 
from Norway — Death of Canute — His Dominions — His Sons Rule 
England — Norway's Increase in Prosperity — ^Anund's Peaceful Rule 
in Sweden— Edmund Sleme— Sweden Dominant in the North— Meet- 
ing of the Northern Kings— Adjustment of Boundaries— Death of 
Edmund 101-113 






Sweden, Norway and Denmark Separate Kingdoms — Boundaries — ^Thiod- 
Kings — Fylkes-Kings — Consolidation of Fylkes Under Upsala Kings 
— Upsala Domain — Self Government — Jarls — Lawmen — Provincial 
Laws — Precedence of Upper Swedes— Social Condition of the Swedes 
— Freedom and Slavery — The Odalman—Tiegnarmen— Means of Com- 
munication — ^Lakes and Rivers — Commerce and Occupations — Coins 
and Precious Metals — The Vikings and Commerce — ^Dwellings — Man- 
ners of Life — ^The Language Spoken — Poetry and Literature — ^The 
Written and Unwritten Law— Extinction of Ivar Dynasty.. .114— 123 




Christianity Established in Sweden — Her Prosperity — Danish Rulers — 
The Grandees of Sweden — The Stenkil Dynasty — The Upper Swedes 
Lose Supremacy — Jarl Stenkil Elected King — His Liberality — ^Adal- 
vard. Bishop of Skara — His Plan to Destroy the Temple of Upsala — 
Stenkil's Dispute with Harald of Norway — Harald's War in England 
— His Death — Death of Stenkil — Feud Between Pagans and Christ- 
ians — Civil War — Hakon the Red Rules in Upsala — Halsten and 
Inge — Stenkil's Sons Elected Kings by the Goths and Swedes — 
Inge's Zeal — He Loses the Crown — Sven Elected King — Called Blot- 
Sven — Inge Murders Sven and Becomes King Again — War Between 
Inge and Magnus of Norway — Terms of Peace — "Maid of P«ace" — 
Denmark and Sweden Receive Separate Bishops — Inge's Death — 
Philip and Inge II. in West Gothland — Erie King at Upsala — Philip's 
and Inge II.'s Death^Christian Preachers — Sigurd of Norway — His 
Crusade — Christianity the National Religion 124 — 130 




Magnus Elected King by the West Goths — Civil War — Ragnvald, King- 
Killed by the West Goths — Sverker,King — Promoter of the Church- 
Influx of Monks and Nuns — Churches and Monasteries — Papal Le- 


gate— King Sven of Denmark Invades Sweden— The. Upper Swedes 
in 1150 Elect Eric, a Rich Sonde, King— Related to Inge II.— Upsala 
Episcopal See— Woman's Equality before the Law-Crusades— The 
Swedes March to the Holy Land— To Finland and Kussia^Finns 
and Lapps— Eric's Crusade against the Finns, 1157— Abo, Episcopal 
See of FinUnd— Eric Murdered— Canonized as St. Eric— Prince 
Magnus of Denmark, the Murderer, Slain 1161— Charles Elected King 
—His Policy— Upsala Archbishopric 1164-^tephen , Archbishop- 
Canute, Son of Eric Claims the Kingdom— Civil War— Charles Killed 
1167_Canute King— The Pirates— Stockholm Fortified— Canute Died 
1195— The Folkunger— Wealth and Influence— Birger Brosa— Sverker 
II. King— Exempts Clergy from the Law— War between the Dynas- 
ties of Eric and Sverker— Valdemar of Denmark and Sverker II.— 
Invade Sweden— Eric VII. and the Swedes— Battle of Lena— Danes 
Defeated— Sverker II.'s Invasion— John I., Son of Sverker II. King 
—Bishops Become Rulers in Facl^-John's Crusades— Death 1222— 
Erie Elected King— His Flight— Canute King— Eric Returns— Alli- 
ance with the Folkungers— Sabina Legate— The Canon Law— Nuns 
and Friars— New Crusade to Finland— Eric's Death 1250.. 131 — 145 




Dynasty of St. Eric Extinct— Jarl Birger— Valdemar Elected King— 
Birger Returns to Sweden— Guardian of the King— Philip and Can- 
ute Magnus Invade Sweden — ^Defeated — Sweden Supreme in Scandi- 
nayia—Birger's Policy was Peace with Denmark and Norway"— 
Alliance with Germany— The Hansa League — ^Its Commerce with 
Sweden — Foundation of Stockholm — Birger the Legislator — ^Laws En- 
acted — Slavery Abolished — Birger, Sweden's First Statesman — ^Val- 
demar and Duke Magnus — Valdemar's Pilgrimage to Rome — Magnus 
and the Danes Invade Sweden — Valdemar is Defeated — ^Magnus 
Elected King — Valdemar Escapes to Denmark — Takes Possession of 
Gothland — Magnus' Manner of Life — Influence of Foreigners — ^The 
King's Father-in-law Taken Prisoner — Released — Laws Protecting 
Travelers and the Public — ^Magnus Ladula* — Military Regulations — 
Introduction of Chivalry — Origin of the Nobility — Church Released 
from Taxation— Foreign Relations of King Magnus — Gothland Unit- 
ed with Sweden— Gothland's Commerce and Laws — Magnus' Death 
— Birger, King — Torgils Knutson — ^Laws Codified — ^The Pope Threat- 
ens the Marshal — The Boundaries of Finland — Crusadie — ^Viborg 
Fortified— Second Crusade against Russia — Carelen Incorporated 


with Sweden — Relation between Sweden, Denmark and Norway — In- 
termarriage of the Royal Houses — Character of Duke Eric — ^The King 
and His Brothers — Rebellion of Eric and Valdemar — Defeated — Con- 
spiracy against the Marshal — His Trial and Execution — Second 
Rebellion of the Dukes — Pacification — The Dukes Taken Prisoners 
and Perish — The Swedes Rebel against the King — Magnus, Son of 
Eric, King— Birger's Death 146—165 




Swedish Government Has Become an Oligarchy — Calmar Union — Sweden 
and Norway United — King Magnus — Countries Governed by Coun- 
cil — ^Ingeborg and Porse — Grandees Meeting at Skara-^Chancelloi 
Blue — Norwegians Act in Self-Defence — War bttween Sweden and 
Russia Ended — Carelen — Finland and Savolak Swedish Provinces — 
Settlement and Improvement of Finland — ^Arrogance of the Grandees 
— King Magnus a Weak Prince — Denmark Near Dissolution — ^Dutch 
Influence in the North — Treaty Concerning Scania — Hakon King oi 
Norway — Magnus Improves on the Laws of Sweden — Lands Law — 
Stads Law — St. Birgitta — Magnus at War with Russia — Black Death 
— Dissatisfaction among all Classes — Magnus and Eric — Valdemar of 
Denmark and Albert of Meeklenbej-g Invade Sweden — ^Lords De- 
throne Magnus — ^His Son, Hakon, King — Albert Chosen King — . 
Stockholm Captured — Civil War — Departure of Magnus and Hakon 
— Bondes Rise against the Nobles — A Compromise — Albert, King of 
Sweden — German Influence — Grip Chancellor — Discords and Violence 
— Valdemar's Death— Olaf, King in Denmark — Margaret, Ruler — 
Pretentions to the Swedish Crown — Olaf's Death^ — Margaret Elect- 
ed Queen — ^Albert and His Germans Defeated and Driven from the 
Country 166—179 




Friendly Relations between Sweden, Denmark and Norway — The Ger- 
mans and the Hansa — Margaret and Eric — Hatte Brothers — ^Murc'er 
of Citizens — ^Hansa Pirates — Holland — Treaty — Albert Released— 

xviii. CONTENTS. 

Teutonic Knights — ^Margaret Secures Election pf Erie in Norway, 
then in Sweden and Denmark— Calmar Unioji 1397 — Internal and 
External Relations — Union Not Ratified by the People — Margaret's 
Energy— Seizure of the Crown troperty — Her Influence on Church 
and State — Relief of the Lower Classes — Reduces Gothland — ^King 
Eric's Partiality to the Danes — Margaret's Death — Eric Sole Ruler—- 
War with Germany — Philippa's Abilities — Peace — Sweden Dissatis- 
fied with Eric — Oppression — Cruelty — Causes leading to the Disso- 
lution of the Union — Engelbert and Charles Knutson — Engelbert'a 
Early Life and Home — His Journey to the King — Demands Relief 
for the Swedes — No Success — Raises an Army — Drives Out the Danes 
— Seizes the Treasury — Compels the Council to Dethrone Eric — 
Marches South— Most of the Country under his Control — Eric Ar- 
rives with an Army at Stockholm — Besieged — The Grandees Recon- 
cile Eric and Englebert — Engelbert Elected Chief Marshal — Riks- 
dag — Negotiations with Eric — Riksdag 1436 — Charles Knutson Adr 
ministrator — Engelbert Murdered — His Character and Success — ^The 
Grandees in Power — Puke Executed — Charles Administrator — Eric 
Dethroned — Christopher — Privileges of the Nobles and Clergy — Hard 
Times — Lands Law — Christopher's Death 1448 180 — 200 




Bengt and Nils Oxenstjerna Administrators — Union Party and Opposi- 
tion — Charles' Return from Finland — Elected King 1448 — Christian 
I. Elected King of Denmark — Charles and Christian I. at War — 
Charles, King of Norway — Swedish Lords Arbitrate away Norway — 
Charles Invades Scania — Danes Defeated in East Gothland and 
West Gothland — Murder of Marshal Bonde — Archbishop's Revolt 
against Charles — Flees to Dantzig — Archbishop and Tott Adminis- 
trators — Christian I, King — Heavy Taxation — Archbishop's Policy — 
His Arrest and Transportation 1463 — His Relatives Revolt — Chris- 
tian Deposed — Charles Returns as King — Archbishop Released — At- 
tacks Charles who Leaves for Finland — Vasa Administrator — Oxen- 
stjerna Administrator — Nils Sture — Tott Administrator — Flees to 
Denmark — Charles Third time King — His Death — Sten Sture Ad- 
ministrator — Christian at Stockholm — Danes Defeated at Battle of 
Brunkeberg — Sture's Wise Governmient — Upsala University Founded 
1477 — Christian's Indifference to His Subjects — Hans or John II., 
King of Denmark and Sweden — Calmar Recess 1483 — Terms of 
Agreement between the Grandees for the Union — Height of Aristo- 


cratic Power in Sweden— Civil War — Hans King of Sweden — His 
War in Ditmarschen — Defeat — Hemmjng Gad — Sten Sture Admin- 
istrator — His Death- Swante Sture Administrator — His Character — 
Gad His Assistant— Death of Sture— Sten Sture Administrator — 
Hans' Death. 201—221 




Social and Political Condition of Sweden^^weden an Elective Mon- 
archy — Royal Prerogatives Limited — Taxation — Fines — Clergy and 
Nobility — Administrator's Power — Council — ^Wealth of the Church 
and Power of the Priests — Influence in Elections — Castles of the 
Nobles — Burghers of the Cities — Numbers and Influence of the 
Bondes — Jealousy of Power — Jealousy between the Families — 
Chriatian II. King in Denmark Connives with Archbishop TroUe — In- 
vades Sweden — Defeated by Sture — Archbishop Deposed — Christian 
II. Invades West Gothland — Sture Wounded — Christian becomes 
King of Sweden — Coronation — ^The Blood-bath of Stockholm — Mas- 
sacres — The Wrath of the Swedes — Calmar Union Dissolved — Danish 
Opinion of Christian II. — His Imprisonment and Death 222 — ^236 




Gustavus' Birth — ^His Family — ^His Childhood — Imprisonment — Escape — 
Concealment in Dalame — Elected Chief — Seizes the Copper Mines — 
His Army Increases — Trolle and the Danes March against Him 
with 8,000 Men-r-Danes Defeated — Victories of Gustavus— Influence 
on the Public Mind — Gustavus Administrator — ^War ^ Continued — 
Treaty with thei Hansa — Norby Sails from Stockholm — Gustavus 
Elected King — Enters Stockholm— Power of the Church — Independ- 
ent of the Government — Canon Law — Nobles and Clergy Favor the 
Union — Disorders Throughout the Kingdom — Struggles of Gustavus 
— Reformation — The Petri — Andrew — Translation of New Testa- 
ment — Gustavus' Relation with Pope— Johannes Magnus Archbishop 
— ^Meeting at UpsaJa — Magnus Departs for Rome — Insurrection in 
Dalarne — Christian II. Attempts to Regain the Throne 237 — 248 



GUSTAVUS VASA. (Continued.) 

Vesteras Synod — Gustavus and Keformation — Eiksdag of Vesteras— 
King's Message — Answer by Clergy and Nobles — Gustavus Offers to 
Resign Crown — Recess of Vesteras — Gustavus Crowned King — In- 
surrections — Gustavus' Difficult Position^ — His Triumphs — ^War with 
Lubeck — Crown Hereditary — War with Russia — Success — ^Treaty of 
Peace — The Army and Navy— Industries — Intellectual developments 
— The King and His Character. . : , 249^61 


ERIC XIV. 15C0--1568. JOHN III. 1568-1592. 

Eric XIV. Inherits the Crown — ^His Intended Marriage to Elizabeth of 
England — Proclaimed King — His good Intentions — Improvements in 
the Judicial System of Sweden — Courts, Immigrations — Gustavus 
Vasa's Testament Annulled — Eric's Courtships — Karin — ^Eric's Tot- 
eign Policy — Sweden's Success in Livonia Aroused Enmity of Den- 
mark — Naval Battle of Bornholm — Vicissitudes of the War — 'Naval 
Battles — Invasion of Sweden — Defeat of the Danes-,-Eric's Dispute 
with His Brothers — John made Prisoner— The Stures and other 
Nobles Imprisoned and Murdered — Conspiracy against the King- 
Civil War — Defeat of Eric — ^Abdicates — Imprisoned — His Death 

Persson condemned. John III. (1568—1592.) John is Acknowl- 
edged King— Empty Treasury— John Inclines to the Romish 
Church- The Liturgy— Charles' Power and Influence— War with 
Denmark— Truce— Answer of the Riksdag to Denmark's Demand— 

- - War Renewed— Peace—The Cause of War between Sweden and Rus- 
sia — Czar's Ambassadors — Reval— Success of De la Gardie ^The 

Swedish Generals Restrain the Soldiers— Peace with Russia- Arch- 
bishop Gothus— Death of John , 262^274 


SIGISMUND I. 1592—1599. CHARLES IX 1599-1611. 

Sigismund King of Poland Succeeds to the Throne of Sweden— Duke 
Charles Conducts the Government— By John's Vacillation and Si- 
gismund's devotion to Popery the Crown is Jeopardized— Vasa 
Throne Established on the Reformation— Upsala Synod or Riksdag 
—Lutheran Doctrines of the Swedish Church— Approved by Charles 
—Sigismund Arrives at Stockholm— Grudgingly Confirms the Acta 


of the Riksdag — Is Crowned King— Conflicts between, the Swedes 
and the Poles — Sigismund leaves for Poland — Sweden wants a Resi- 
dent King — Charles Summons a Riksdag — ^Is Elected Administrator — 
Charles, the Council and Sigismund — Sigismund with a Polish Army 
Invades Sweden — Is Defeated by the Swedes — A Riksdag Meets and 
Sigismund Is Deposed — Charles IX. Elected King — Was the People's 
King — Mental Peculiarities of the Vasas — Superstitions — Dreams and 
Omens — Convulsions of the .Social Fabric — Riksdag at Jonkoping — 
Trial and Execution of the Nobles Who Sided with Sigismund—' 
The Crown Offered to Charles — Declined until Duke John Became 
of Age — ^Legal Maxims — War wiih Sigismund and Poland — Riksdag 
of 1602 — Terms of Peace — The Council — Peaoe with Russia — Entry 
into Moscow — Stjernskold — Anarchy in Russia— De la Cardie's Vic- 
tories — Prince Charles Philip Elected Czar of Russia — ^War with 
Denmark — Gustavus Adolphus' First Experience in Military Science 
— ^Death of Charles IX. — Influence of Charles IX. on the People — 
Rapid Development of Sweden Socially, Morally and Materially — 
Schools — Education — History and Literature 275 — 293 




GuBtavus Adolphus' Early Years. — Education — Military Genius — ^Title as 
King — Unsettled Condition of Swedeni— Swedish Magna Charta — 
The Riddarhus — The Four Estates — Gustavus a Constitutional Mon- 
arch — His Frequent Consultations with Riksdags — Resources for the 
Support of the Government — ^Resources of the Country and Indus- 
tries — ^Departments of the Government — ^The Administration of Jus- 
tice — ^Upsala University and Gustavus — Danish War — ^Unfavorable 
Treaty of Peace — Russian War — De la Gardie's Victories — A Swed- 
ish Prince Elected Czar of Russia — ^Treaty of Peace Repudiated by 
Gustavus — ^War Renewed — ^Peace and Boundaries — ^The Polish War 
— Romanism and Protestantism in Opposing Camps — Sigismund's 
Claim to the Crown of Sweden — ^Rejects Offer of Peace — Gustavus 
and the Polish War — Victories — Negotiations for Alliance with the 
Protestants — ^Invasion of Polalnd — ^Progress of the War — ^The Em- 
peror Aids Sigismund-^Thirty Years' War in Germaiiy— Poland and 
"Turkey — Gustavus Takes Courland and Livonia — Campaign in Pol- 
aild — ^Denmark in the Thirty Years': War — Six Years' Armistice be- 
' tween Sweden and- Poland ; . .' .;....;. i ...*. . .. 295^310 

xxll. CONTElfTS. 



ItJll— 1632. 

Gustavus Adolphus and the Riksdag-^Resolved to carry on the War In 
the Enemy's Country— Preparations— Army and Navy— Number of 
Troops— Gustavus Presents his Daughter to the Riksdag— The Fare- 
■vf^ell — The Departure — ^Landing on the Shores of Pomerania — ^Ad- 
vances—Retreat of the Enemy— Discipline of the Swedish Army- 
Treaties with Hansa Cities and with France— Magdeburg in Peril 
— Indiffeirenee of the Protestants— Fall of Magdeburg— The Horrors 
Enacted— Tilly and His Barbarity— Germany Turns to Gustavus 
for Help — His Proclamation — Trials— Saxony Invaded by the Im- 
perialists — The Electors — George of Saxony — Forms Alliances — Gus- 
tavus and Duke Weimar— Battle of Breitenfeld— The Swedish Army 
— ^The Imperialists— Tactics of Gustavus — Tilly and Pappenheim— 
Formation of the Armies — The Battle — The Victory of Gustavus— 
The! Dead and Wounded— The Battle marks an Epoch — Germany lay 
Open to Gustavus^ — Recruits His Army — Tilly's New Army — Wallen- 
stedn in the Field — March of Gustavus — Battle of Lutzen — Position 
of Wallenstein's Army — Position of the Army of Gustavus — The 
Battle — ^Fall of Gustavus — ^Fury Seized upon the Swedish Troops — 
Wallenstein Defeated — ^Pappenheim Killedr— The Swedes Hold the 
Field — Recovery of the King's Body — The Swede-Stone— The Sus- 
picions against Francis Albert — Appearance and Character of Gus- 
tavus — The Opinion of Historians on the Loss by Gustavus' Death 
— Axel Oxenstjerna in Power 311 — 338 




Gustavus Adolphus' Provision f6r Conducting the Government During 
the War— Sorrow in Sweden over the Death of Gustavus — Oxen- 
stjerna at the Head of Affairs— The Riksdag of 1633— The Five 
Councillors — Christina's title Queen Elect of the Realm — ^The 
Swedes in Germany — The Army 120,000 — The Electors — Oxenstjer- 
na Plenipotentiairy and Commander-in-Chief — The Three Proposi- 
tions to the German Protestants — Alliance with France — The Grants 
and Bounties by Oxenstjerna to German J'rinces<^Dissensions be- 
tween the Generals'— Movements of the Army— Battle of Nordlingen 
—The Defeat of th6 Protestants— Horn Prisoner-"Blow t6 the Prot- 
estant Cause — Protestant Union Dissolved — Sweden Enters Into an 

CONTENTS. xxlll. 

Alliance with France — Saxony made Peace with Austria and 
Turned against Sweden — Desperate Situation — Baner's Victory over 
the Imperialists at Wittstock — The Swedes Supreme in Germany — 
Devastation of the Country — Duke Bernard's Course and Character 
— Death of the Emperor — Ferdinand III. Successor — Baner Surprises 
the Emperor and the Diet — I^eonard Torstenson Field Marshal — His 
Tactics and Victories — Approaches Vienna — ^Danish Interference — 
War Declared — Torstenson Invades Denmark — Heroism of her King 
Christian IV. — Naval Battles — Swedish Colony on the Delawarer- 
Its First Success — Loss to Sweden — Christina at the Head of the Gov- 
ernment — Peace with Denmark — Praise and Titles for Oxenstjerna 
— Torstenson in Germany — Vrangel Commander-in-Chief — At the 
Gates of Prague — Charles Gustavus — Peace of Westphalia — Sweden's 
Share — Internal Administration — The Queen's Extravagance — Her 
Court — Riksdag 1650 — ^Election of Charles Gustavus, Hereditary 
Prince — The People Dissatisfied with the Queen — ^Her Abdication — 
Departs from Sweden — Monument at St. Peter's 339 — 363 



Hallristningar 13 

Eunes , 14 

Eunes and stone tools ". 15 

Attehog 16 

Einherjar saluted in Valhalla 23 

Election of King 30 

Kings' Mounds 44 

Map of the World, 3rd century 46 

Gothic text 57 

Viking ship 61 

Varangians, the Ehiperor's guard 81 

Eunes and Bautastones 85 

A Viking duel 86 

Laws of the West Goths 132 

Engelbert 195 

Engelbert's Isle. . , 196 

Gustavus Vasa 239 

Gustavus Vasa at Vesteras 248 

Upsala Cathedral, 15th century 261 

Charles IX 276 

Genealogy of the House of Vasa 293 

Gustavus II. Adolphus 294 

Axel Oxenstjerna 296 

Battle of Breitenfeld 324 

Gustavus II. Adolphus at the battle of Lutzen 330 

Eiddarholm church 338 

Christina 343 

Trollhattan 343 

Maps 368 



Location of the Kingdom of Sweden — Topography — Climate — Gulfstream 
— Svear and Gotar — Characteristics of the Swedes — King and Peo- 
ple — Early Inhabitants of Sweden — Greek and Roman Knowledge of 
the Country — Pythias in Thule — Pliny Visits Sweden — ^Tacitus on 
the Swedes and Goths — Historical Evidence — Manner of Life of 
the Early Inhabitants — The Lapps — Sources for the Historian — The 
Stone Age — Mounds — Graves — Bronze Age — Swedes and Goths as 
Navigators — Dealings Avith Romans — West and East Goths and 
Swedes — The Runes — Tools. 

The History of Sweden and of the Swedish people 
presents a study of unusual interest The Kingdom of 
Sweden is the northernmost of the European coun- 
tries, extending from the 55th degree North Latitude 
on the south to far beyond the arctic circle up to the 
71st degree North Latitude on the north. Her south- 
ern and eastern shores are washed by the waves of the 
Baltic and the Bay of Bothnia. Torneo River, a 
turbulent stream, separates her from Northern Fin- 
land on the northeast. On the west she is bounded by 
the Sound, the Cattegat, and the Northern Atlantic 
Ocean, up to the point where she unites with Norway 
to form the Scandinavian JPeninsula. The surface area 
of Sweden is 172,876 square miles; that of Norway is 
124,445 square miles. 

The coast line of Sweden is indented with many 
small bays and fjords which form havens where the 


daring and exhausted mariner can find shelter and pro- 
tection from the raging elements; and it was on their 
shores and along the river banks that the celebrated 
Sea Kings and Vikings dwelt in the olden days. 

The topography of the country is various, consist- 
ing in part of beautiful table lands. which are exceed- 
ingly productive and yield a bounteous return to the 
husbandman for his industry — in part of forest-clad 
mountains whose rocky crests hide abundant stores of 
mineral wealth, among them being some of the finest 
iron ores known to the world. Beautiful inland lakes 
enliven the landscape. Innumerable brooks and rivers 
rush from the mountains, watering the valleys, and 
forming navigable streams ere they flow into the sea. 
Prior to the railroad era these streams were the prin- 
cipal trade highways, carrying vast quantities of lum- 
ber and ores. Numerous hamlets and cities are located 
along these waterways which supply power for an end- 
less variety of manufacturing industries. The forests 
abound with game, and the lakes, streams and sur- 
rounding ocean teem with all kinds of fish. 

The climate of the country is pure, healthful and 
invigorating, varying as it does from mild and pleas- 
ant in the southern part to cold and bracing in the 
northern; but it is by no means as cold and rigorous 
as would be supposed from its northern latitude. The 
Gulf Stream of the Atlantic Ocean which comes from 
the Equator, and then, flowing north through the 
English Channel and west of England and Ireland, 
follows the western coast of Sweden and Norway, 
modifies the severity of these high latitudes, making 
the mean temperature of Sweden about the same as 
that of New England. In this Northern Kingdom the 


summer is almost one continuous day. Trees and 
fruits, vegetation, flowers and grain all grow with 
great rapidity. The winter days are short, but when 
the sun advances northward again Spring leaps for- 
ward with a bound. Migratory birds of many varieties, 
from the nightingale, lark and cuckoo to the swan and 
stork, coming from southern climes, fill the air with 
their musical and plaintive voices, and settle among 
hills and valleys, on the shores and banks of the rivers 
to build their nests and raise their young. 

The Swedish people, composed of Svear and Gotar, 
are one of the oldest in Europe. Their origin must be 
looked for among the hoary ages. They have no na- 
tional holiday upon which they celebrate the nation's 
birth. They have had reverses, and have been 
sometimes checked in their progress, but they have al- 
ways been a free and independent people. In all ages 
they have been famous for their courage, valor and 
independence, and a love of freedom which no adverse 
circumstances could suppress. No nation on earth pos- 
sesses in a higher degree the manly virtues of fidelity 
and integrity. They bear a well-earned reputation for 
hospitality and every social virtue; faithful and loyal 
to their friends, they are also generous and forbearing 
towards their foes. 

The history of Kings has by some historians been 
declared to be the history of their people. Now a great 
historian of Sweden has asserted that her history is the 
history of her Kings. But while it is true that under 
victorious Princes the Swedish people covered them- 
selves with imperishable glory, nevertheless this was 
due to a common impulse which moved the whole na- 
tion to extraordinary efforts when its independence 


was threatened. It was indeed in the face of menac- 
ing dangers from without, that, with one consent, the 
entire people took up arms for their own protection as 
well as for the benefit of their oppressed and suffering 
fellowmen abroad, and that they upheld the hands of 
their Princes and supported them during all their 
vicissitudes and trials, cheerfully sacrificing their lives 
and property for freedom and civil liberty, as we hope 
will be shown in the following pages. 

Historical evidence exists on every hand that Swed- 
en was inhabited at a very early date, in fact long be- 
fore the beginning of the Christian era. Written docu- 
ments relating to the earliest period do not exist, if 
we except the Norse songs and sagas and a few ancient 
authors. The historian must pursue his researches 
among the ruins and monuments of the country, sub- 
jecting the runic inscriptions on rocks and bautastones 
to critical investigation. Inasmuch as the mounds and 
burial places of the earliest inhabitants give an index to 
their manners and customs, they have been diligently 
explored by archaeologists all over Sweden during late 
years, whose reports are of extreme interest to the 
student and the historian. 

The Greeks and Romans during the time of their 
greatness had very little knowledge of the northern 
part of Europe. They believed that certain Hyper- 
boreans lived there, whom they pictured as mortals 
living in close communion with the gods in a land of 
plenty and under sunny skies, where toil and fatigue 
were unknown, and neither sickness nor suffering be- 
fell the race. Yet this Northern race would not remain 
at home, indolent and satisfied with their celestial 


abode, but sallied forth instead and pressed hard upon 
the unsuspecting peoples of the South. 

The earliest written account of the Scandinavian 
North is given by a native of Massillia (Marseilles) by 
the name of Pythias, who, about 350 years before 
Christ,sailed northward passing through the Sound and 
visiting the shores of the Baltic Sea, where he traded in 
amber with a people called Gutones. Amber became 
at that time a very fashionable ornament among the 
wealthy Greek and Roman women. 

From the description given by Pythias of the length 
of the day in summer, he must have made his way to 
the upper part of the Bay of Bothnia. The natives, he 
says, threshed the grain of which they made bread in 
large roofed buildings where it was carefully stored 
away. The sun did not always shine there, and rain 
and snow often spoiled the growing crops. Walls were 
built around the gardens, where hardy plants and var- 
ious kinds of berries were raised for food. Bees were 
also kept by the natives, who made a pleasant drink 
from the honey. This evidently was the mead (mjod) 
so celebrated in songs and sagas, which made the gods 
and einhaj-jars glad in Valhalla, and which the chiefs 
and warriors quaffed from the horns at yule-tide. 

This Northern people had, according to Pythias, al- 
ready attained a certain degree of civilization. They 
were eager to trade their amber with foreigners, 
shrewd at making bargains, and ready and well pre- 
pared to fight for their rights if imposed upon by 
strangers or otherwise offended and ill treated. 

A long silence follows this account of Pythias. Then 
we again hear of Scandinavia through Pliny,who visit- 
ed the great peninsula, though he called it a continent. 


The amber merchants were still engaged in their trade 
with the Gutones dwelling on the shores of the Baltic. 
Tacitus, the great Eoman historian, in his pointed style 
gives a brief account of the Gutones, the Suevi and 
other kindred nations, who were living in the North, 
and it was not long after his time that these tribes 
came rolling like an avalanche over the Roman Empire. 
The Roman legions, unable to resist their attack, at 
length gave way, and Italy became the prey of the in- 
vaders. A Gothic Empire was built on the ruins of 
Rome. Who were those Swedes and Goths, those 
Northmen who created such a stir in the world? 
Whence did they come? What was their manner of 
living? What were their occupations, their intellectual 
and moral conditions? These are subjects which we in- 
tend to discuss and investigate. For history aims to 
reveal truth — the causes producing certain effects in 
the intercourse of man with man, and the relative posi- 
tion that various communities and nations have sus- 
tained towards one another. 

The laws and regulations, ordinances and constitu- 
tions of a people are the products and fruits of old 
customs which ripened after long and bitter internal 
struggles, just as treaties and compacts between inde- 
pendent nations are the issue of long and bloody wars. 
The causes leading up to these conflicts between dif- 
ferent peoples are frequently lost sight of owing to 
the chances of war, or the decree of fate, or, shall we 
say, by the foreordained determination of God. 

The earliest inhabitants of Sweden had not attained 
a high degree of civilization, according to our present 
ideas. They were dependent for their food upon hunt- 
ing and fishing and on the fruits and products of the 


earth. Theil^ tools and weapons were made of stones 
and flints, or bones and teeth of animals. Skins and 
furs were the material of their garments. During late 
years the National Museum at Stockholm has been 
filled with relics of this early period collected from 
all parts of Sweden. It is the general consensus of 
opinion among scholars and students that the Lapps 
formerly lived further south in Sweden than they do 
at this time. The traditions as expressed in songs and 
sagas, and the popular belief at the present day in 
giants, trolls, elves, fairies, nixies, the maid of the 
woods, goblins and other mysterious beings originated 
from the contact of the early Swedes and Goths with 
the Cave Dwellers who were gradually driven North- 
ward to Lapland. 

Documents which give an account of the early 
history and conditions of the North 6f Europe are very 
rare. There are no reliable sources for historical in- 
vestigations except such inscriptions as may be found 
on monuments, runes on rocks, and the archaeological 
discoveries in the mounds and in the burial places of 
the earliest inhabitants. It is only from the monu- 
ments, graves and other ruins, that we can form an 
idea of the conditions of human existence at that time. 
There was a period when the inhabitants of the North 
knew nothing of metals, and when they manufactured 
tools and weapons principally of stones. Gradually, 
however, they learned the art of molding and forming 
implements of an alloy composed of a mixture of copper 
and tin, which is known as bronze. 

Later they began to work in iron and steel, and 
made better tools out of these hard and useful metals. 
From these different grades of tools and w'eapons used 


by the Northmen certain writers have divided Swedish 
history into what they call the stone age, the bronze 
age and the iron age. 

The earliest traces of human inhabitants in the 
North are found in the larger mounds of the stone age 
which have been discovered near the coasts of Sweden 
and Denmark, and which consist of the refuse thrown 
away after meals, including oyster shells, bones of 
certain animals, birds and fishes, etc., and belong to a 
very early age. Their great antiquity is established by 
the fact that these mounds contained bones of animals 
which have been for a long time extinct in the North, 
such as the wild swine and the wild ox, as well as 
certain kinds of fishes which have not existed for 
centuries. In these mounds have been found tools and 
weapons of a very rough and rudimentary character, 
made principally of stone, bones and clay. The race 
who fashioned them supported themselves mainly 
by hunting and fishing, led a very uncivilized life, and 
roamed about the country as nomads. At the com- 
mencement of the stone age the people were in a very 
low and savage condition, but gradually they began to 
raise cattle and other domestic animals and to make 
some attempts at agTiculture. They buried their dead 
in large caves, or prepared resting-places for them hav- 
ing stone walls and roofed with large slabs, and heaped 
earth over them; or else they made immense mounds 
of stone containing a burial chamber and covered 
them over with soil. A few of these graves have been 
explored by archaeologists, one of whom writes of 
them as follows: "I found an entrance opening to a 
long passage which led into the middle of the mound, 
whi<?h was a large room prepared for the reception of 


the dead; this room was filled with human bones, and 
bones of animals, tools and weapons of stone, and other 
rude implements, fancy articles prepared from bones, 
and precious stones." The people of the stone age lived 
principally in the Southern and Western Provinces of 

The stone age was followed by the age of bronze. 
Living on the coasts of the Baltic the Swedes and Goths 
built ships and became exper-t navigators. Coming in 
contact with the more civilized countries of Southern 
Europe, the inhabitants of the North had gradually 
learned the use of certain metals, particularly bronze 
and gold, and from these metals they now fashioned 
their weapons, tools and ornaments. Many of their 
bronze implements which have been found in the earth 
show signs of considerable skill and fine workman- 
ship, indicating that the inhabitants of the North had 
acquired no small degree of ingenuity. The art of writ- 
ing was not yet known except to the priests. The most 
important events were recorded by inscriptions on 
stones. In the early part of the bronze age it was usual 
to bury the dead in cofllns of stone, or else in large hol- 
low logs, but later they burned the dead and placed 
their ashes in large urns; it was still customary to 
throw large heaps of stones and earth over the graves. 
These mounds, called Attehogar, are quite numerous in 
Sweden near the sea coast. 

It is usually supposed that the bronze age in the 
North corresponds with the time prior to the birth of 
Christ. That this Scandinavian branch of the great 
Teutonic race was ,living there during this age is 
demonstrated by inscriptions on bautastones and rocks. 
These Swedish and Gothic navigators came in con- 


tact witii the Eomans, who during the time of the 
Emperor Augustus began to make conquests in Ger- 
many; for during the first century after the birth of 
Christ,the classical authors, such as Pliny and Tacitus, 
make mention of the Northern people under different 
names, the former speaking of a large island called 
Scandia, and the latter alluding to the Sviones as a 
very powerful race possessed of arms and vessels. 
From the abundance of iron ore in the hills of Sweden 
this metal was early utilized by the inhabitants. Be- 
sides iron they learned to employ lead, glass, ivory, etc., 
and in their commercial dealings with the Komans they 
learned the value of coins. Armor, weapons, tools 
and jewelry of Eoman make have been found in many 
places in Sweden. That period of the iron age during 
which the North was influenced by Roman civilization 
and culture has been by some archaeologists and writ- 
ers called the old iron age. The most valuable dis- 
coveries dating from this time have been made in large 
swamps, which formerly were regarded as sacred lakes, 
and into which trophies and other expensive articles 
had been thrown as a sacrifice to the gods, or as equip- 
ment for a dead hero, that he might not come empty- 
handed to Odin in Valhalla. Large numbers of ancient 
articles have lately been found in peat-beds. Every- 
thing belonging to the equipment of a warrior and his 
horse, fancy articles of all descriptions, boats, Eoman 
arms engraved during the time of the Eoman Emper- 
ors and so forth, have been found in these places, while 
arms and jewelry of exceedingly fine workmanship and 
of great value have been found in the mounds. Some- 
times arms have been found engraved with all the old 
Eunic alphabet; similar chacacters can be deciphered 


on monuments, rocks and stones. The graves of the old 
iron age contain either burnt bones or seated corpses 
attired in full panoply of war. 

The West Goths and East Goths were then living in 
the provinces which have since been known by their 
names. Advancing further north and east of a large 
forest known as Tiveden, another tribe was encount- 
ered, known by the name of Sviar (Swedes). This dis- 
trict was called Svithiod and lay to the north of lake 
Malaren. There the tribe formed into three large com- 
munities and from this point gradually spread west- 
ward and southward until they surrounded the lake. 
The third Northern tribe, which had moved further 
west and settled down in Norway, occupying the val- 
leys, gradually become known as the Norwegians. 

The popular movements in Central Europe, begin- 
ning with the Christian era and continued for several 
centuries, which are known as the great migrations, 
had also an influence on Northern Europe. The Ger- 
manic tribes which had occupied the countries south 
and southeast of the Baltic were crowded out of their 
old habitations, and some sought refuge with .their 
kindred in the North while others moved to Western 
Europe. Great portions of the North became settled 
and cultivated. Numbers of the emigrants penetrated 
into the northern part of Sweden as far as Lapland, 
where they cleared the forests and practiced agri- 
culture, but it was more particularly the central part 
of Sweden which felt the effects of this immigration. 
There the population steadily increased and a higher 
civilization began to exert its influence; and from this 
time forth the dwellers of Svithiod gained in power and 
importance. At the time the Historic period begins, 


the provinces known as Svealand and Gotaland were 
already united into one power and were governed by 
one King. 

The later or younger iron age is considered to have 
begun about the year six hundred after Christ The 
influence which the people from Southern Europe had 
exerted upon the people of the North had considerably 
lessened because the former had at this period em- 
braced Christianity, whilst the latter still clung to their 
old heathen gods. Weapons as well as ornaments be- 
longing to this period are often very expensive and 
ornataentalbut they show less skill in workmanship 
and coarser tastes than were shown during the earlier 
iron age. 

The runes still formed the alphabet used in writing, 
though they differ slightly from those of the preceding 
age. Runic inscriptions became more common, and 
monuments, stones and rocks were employed to record 
events, as wall as to keep alive the memory of the dead 
who had distinguished themselves either in war or in 
peace, at home or abroad. Sweden possesses more of 
these runes than any other Scandinavian country, and 
of the Swedish provinces that of Upland contains by 
far the largest amount of them. 

The method of disposing of the dead during the 
younger iron age was much the same as that in vogue 
during the older iron age; 'sometimes they were buried 
in mounds, whilst at other times they were burned 
and the ashes were gathered up and preserved in urns 
which were then placed in mounds. The places where 
the dead were buried were either distinguished by 
large mounds of earth, or else enormous stones were 
erected there called Bauta stones, and sometimes the 


burial places were surrounded by a large number of 
stones in different designs. 

The latter part of the iron age forms the connecting 
link between the time of the Sagas and the historic pe- 
riod of the North, and is usually called the age of the 

The oldest known writings which have been found 
i,n Sweden are certain hieroglyphs engraved on large 
mountain rocks, intended to narrate special events, 
such as invasions, battles and victories by land and sea, 
or to describe the customs and manners of life among 
the people. There are a great many of these hieroglyphs 
on rooks in Sweden. Tlie following specimen is taken 
from a large rock at Lokeberg in Foss Parish, Prov- 
ince of Bohus, Sweden. 





//. . . ..-n 



The writings following the hieroglyphic were The 
Kunes of the Swedes; certain signs or letters used in 
recording events, which are peculiar to themselves and 
appear to be of their own invention. They were sup- 
posed to have magic powers, and to be gifts of the gods, 
and long remained a secret of the priests. Originally 
there were sixteen in the a.lphabet, but a few changes 
added five more. 

FF, t\V. DTh, +,=» O, RR, KK. *H, 1-, ^N, II, +, -I A. H, i S, 

T, It, iB, h L, Y M, A 6 eller sasom slntbokstaf E. 

Each rune is followed by the corresponding English letter. 
The words "man," "animal" and "property" were also represented by 
single symbols. 

The following runes are from a bautastone in the Province of Up- 
land, Sweden: 

1. Uppland. Bitlinge socken. Forkarleby. 
Hl*+tl^ X +I\K =< K+fch X Mtl\ X fc+lh+ X ht+11- X +rtlA X 
*+M^T+1- X nP{\K X hit « 


The runes read according to the English letters underneath, and the 
translation is as follows: "Sihater and Charles caused this stone to 
be erected in memory of their father." 

2. Uppland. Tahy socken. Taby ta. 
\\XHUY\ X Mt , K+im- X ht+ll- X DIH+ X i-r , hlK . YWM\ x 
+hK X ^R^ X DIH+ X K+R.l>l X riM^ X +1.^ X hl1.+ X +r\K , +11- x 

t'Ti X nn X T+&r» x kim) x mm « +i-t x *nH« 


"Jarlabake erected this stone while he was living, to his memory, 
and built this bridge for his soul's salvation, He owned the whole of 
Tatby. God help his soul," 



TKe following is from a bautastone in the Province 
of Sodermanland, Sweden: 

Sod^rmanland. Ytterseld 

Ktn X t)!^ 

H-'T X hl\H X 
hl1> X ||M^t+ X 

*+i- X hr-r X hiKht » 
Tl^ X hvrnH x 

'TpNlthY » KUW X 
hY X t[\YIH1-h . 

sochen. Mervalla huge. 

Translated into English it reads as follows: "Sigrid caused this stone 
to be erected in memory of her husband Sven. He sailed often with 
ships laden with rich and valuable goods around Domesnes (Courland) 
to Semgallen." Semgallen is the present City of Kiga. 








1. Is a broad polished flint wedge, having a sharp edge, and used 
as an axe when a shaft of wood was tied to it. 

2. Is a fiint chisel or vnedge polished and sharp edged. 

3. Is a flint chisel used for cutting holes in wood; a sort of 
carpenter's tool. 

4. Is a chisel with a shaft of horn. 




Large quantities of these flint tools are found in the 
Southern and Central parts of Sweden. Some were 
used as saws, knives and drills; others are perforated 
and evidently served as club-heads. 

Intersection of an Attehog, or burial mound, in the 
Southern part of the Province of Halland. Several 
chambers are seen in which were found vessels of burnt 
clay, containing the ashes of burnt human bones. The 
position of the several chambers in the mound seems 
to indicate that in the first instance the large stone 
chamber was built in the centre and the soil and stones 
were thrown over it and in later ages the other cham- 
bers were built in the mound. Such mounds exist in 
great numbers in Sweden. 



Karly Religion of the Swedes — Edda — ^Gylfe Seeks the Homes of the 
Gods — The Ginnungagap — ^Nifelheim — Muspelheim — Ymer — Frost- 
Giants — Audhumbla — Sons of Bori and the Asas — Odin — Creation of 
the World — Location of Midgard — Asgard and Hel — The Heavens — 
Stars — Odin — Thor — Gladsheim — Ygdrasil — Mimer — Norns — Balder 
— Frey — Freyja — ^Brage — ^Loke — Einherjars — Asa Faith Most Fully 
Developed in Sweden — Partly a Worship of Nature — The Gods' 
Sympathy with Men — The Evil Giants — War and CJonfusion — 
Ragnarok — The Spirituality of the Religion — Influence on the 
Lives and Conduct of the People — Manner of Worship — Social Re- 
lations — The Family — Tribe — Fylke- — King and People — Election of 

According to the prose Edda, Gylfe the Wise King 
of, Sweden makes a journey through all lands in search 
of knowledge, seeking to learn the nature of the gods 
and the secrets of their power. He reaches Asgard, 
the abode of the Norse gods. Each of the gods gives 
him some information peculiar to the sphere and action 
of the individual god. He was told according to the 
Edda, that where the earth now is, there was in the 
beginning no sand, sea or grass, but only a vast empty 
space called Ginnungagap. On the North was Nifel- 
heim, the place of snow, ice, mist and cold; on the 
South was Muspelheim, the abode of warmth, sunlight 
and'life. The warm influence from Muspelheim com- 
ing in contact with the snow and ice from Nifelheinj 


caused them to melt and fall into the Ginnungagap, 
whence sprang Ymer the progenitor of the Rimthursar 
or Frost-giants. Ymer fed on the milk of the cow, 
Audhumbla, who kept herself alive by licking the ice- 
blocks; and these, as they melted, disclosed Bori the 
fashioner of the world and the father of Bor; who was 
the father of Odin and Odin's brothers, Vile and Ve. 
A struggle for existence takes place between Ymer and 
the Frost-giants on the one side and the sons of Bori 
or the Asas on the other, and Ymer is slain: from his 
flesh is made the earth; from his blood the sea; his 
bones become the mountains, his teeth the cliffs and 
crags; his skull is transformed into the heavens, 
wherein his brains float like clouds. The firmament is 
supported by four dwarfs, East, West, South and 
North, and the stars in the heavens are fire sparks from 
the warmth of Muspelheim. 

The world thus created is called Midgard, being lo- 
cated between Asgard and Hel, the former the home 
of bliss and of the gods, and the latter the place of 
torments, of the giants and evil beings. Odin and his 
brothers surrounded Midgard with a fence made from 
the eye-brows of Ymer to protect the inhabitants from 
the Eimthursar. Man and woman were produced from 
two- trees found by Bori's sons upon the seashore. 
They were given spirits and life, reason and power of 
motion, form, speech, hearing and eyesight; the man 
was called Ask and the woman Embla. They were 
placed in Midgard and from them all mankind is de- 
scended. Asgard was above Midgard. In Asgard 
there is a place called Hlidskjalf; when Odin sits in its- 
high seat he looks over all the world and directs the 
course of events. Frigg is his wife and FJorgvin their 


daughter; from them descend the Asas. Odin is called 
father of gods and men. Earth was his daughter and 
with her he begot Asa-Tht)r, the conqueror of all 

Narf, a giant of Jotunheim, had a daughter Night, 
who was married to Day of the Asa-race, Alfather 
took Night and Day, gave them two horses and a cart, 
and put them in the heavens to drive around the earth 
by turns. Night rides first on Eimfaxe, who chafes 
bis bit and the foam bedews the earth. Day rides Skin- 
faxe, whose mane lights up all the sky and earth. The 
sun and mwon were placed by the gods in the sky and 
were chased by two wolves; they pursue their course 
around the earth. 

There is a bridge resting on Midgard and leading to 
Asgard, called Bifrost (the Eainbow), which is the route 
to Valhalla. 

In Asgard is Gladsheim with seats for the twelve 
gods and a high seat for Odin, Alfather. Vingolf is a 
beautiful mansion for the goddesses. The gods meet 
every day under an ash, Ygdrasil, and hold counsel. 
The branches of Ygdrasil spread over all the world 
and reach above heaven. Ygdrasil has three roots; un- 
der one root, which extends to the Frost- giants, is the 
fountain Mimer, wherein knowledge and wisdom are 
concealed. Alfather once asked for a drink from it. 
He was refused until he had left one of his eyes as a 
pledge. Under the second root, which is situated in 
heaven, is the sacred fountain of Urd, where the Asas 
have their judgment-seat. The third root reaches down 
into Mfelheim, where Nidhug the serpent gnaws it 

from below. 

Odin rides the eight-footed steed called Slipner. 


Thor is seated in his chariot drawn by two goats, and 
when with his hammer, Mjolner, he strikes the llim- 
thursars and giants, you see the flash of lightning and 
hear the thunder roll. 

A beautiful hall stands near the sacred fountain 
Urd, under the ash, Ygdrasil; out of this Hall come 
three maidens, Urd (past), Verdandi (present), and 
Skuld (future), who are the Norns and shape the desti- 
nies of men. There are also light-elves who come to 
men's homes and make them happy, as well as dark- 
elves who dwell in Manhem and who bring evil things 
to men. 

Balder is Odin's second son, fair, gentle and good. 
He inhabits the place in Valhalla called Breidablik. 
All nature, excepting the mistletoe, swore not to 
injure Balder. Loke, the genius of evil, persuaded Ho- 
der, who was blind, to shoot at Balder. Loke directed 
the arrow, made of the mistletoe; it entered Balder 's 
breast and he fell dead. Great was the sorrow and 
grief that fell upon gods and men, for light, peace and 
happiness disappeared from the universe. 

Frey rules over rain and sunshine and over the 
fruits of the earth. Freyja is the goddess of love. She 
rides in a car drawn by two cats, and one-half of the 
slain in battle belong to her. Brage is the Master- 
skald, the god of poetry, eloquence and wisdom. Tyr 
is daring and strong; he sways victory in war. The 
Wolf Fenris once bit off one of his hands; therefore he 
is a peace -maker. 

Loke is the evil one; he dwells in Hel and causes 
trouble to gods and men. The gods dwell in Valhalla. 
Odin has two ravens who sit one on each shoulder, 
Hugin and Munin (thought and memory); they fly out 


in the morning and bring to his ears all that happens 
in the world. 

The Einherjars are great and brave men who fall 
in battle. The Valkyries (warmaids) pick them up from 
the battlefield and on their fiery steeds bring them to 
Valhalla, where they are welcomed and entertained 
by the Asas and waited upon by the beautiful maidens 
bearing horns filled with mead. 

The belief in the gods and in the immortality of 
the soul which the people of Sweden in common with 
all the Norsemen professed, known as the Asa-faith, 
is the peculiar heritage of all the Germanic races. 
Among the Swedes this Asa-faith reached its fullest de- 
velopment, partly on account of the nature and chaT- 
acter of the country and ijartly owing to peculiar con- 
ditions among the people; also because at Old Upsala 
there was located the great Asa-temple, where the Al- 
sharjar (all the army) gathered once a year to make 
offerings to the gods and under whose shadow they 
held their Tings. An epitome of the religious belief of 
the Scandinavian pagans is more fully set forth in 
the elder and younger Eddas and in songs and sagas 
written or compiled by learned Icelanders; the Elder 
Edda by Saemund the Wise, and the younger Edda by 
Snorre, are written in the old Norse dialect, which was 
spoken in Iceland during the eleventh century, the time 
when the Eddas were compiled from old traditions and 

The Asa-faith was originally a worship of Nature, 
that is to say, a worship which regards the different 
manifestations of nature as divine occurrences brought 
about by the direct interposition of the gods. The 
Norsemen looked upon the divinities in their Theogony 


as abstract beings, and clothed them in human forms 
with attributes of the most perfect kind according to 
their ideas of perfection. 

There was a happy time when the gods invented the 
arts most indispensable to man's life, wrought metals, 
stone and wood, showed in all things their divine pow- 
er, possessed abundance of gold, sported and were mer- 
ry; until their bliss was disturbed by the arrival of 
certain giants' maids from Jotunheim, when the peace 
made with the giants was broken. Odin hurled his 
spear among them and the flame of war was kindled. 
Then began that direful strife against the evil race, 
which continued until, after much suffering, the gods 
proved victorious, and bound Loke to the rock where 
the serpent above pours venom over him, and where 
he must remain until Eagnarok. When the gods re- 
tired to heaven the struggle was continued by the hero- 
ic families of earth who sprung from them. During 
this struggle Odin calls home to Valhalla the fallen, 
there to dwell with him until Kagnarok. 

Such is an outline of the old religion of the North. 
In its internal force, in depth anJi in significance it is 
inferior to no theory of human origin on the beginning 
and end of things which found acceptance in the world 
of antiquity. Some others may approach it, but on 
none is originality of character more clearly stamped. 
This nature worship is peculiar of its kind in that it 
penetrates with prophetic vision into the inner mystery 
of the perishableness of this visible world. But it also 
looks forward to a life after this transitory existence. 
Hence the notion of immortality so deeply rooted in 
minds of our forefathers, which the Greeks and Ro- 
mans ascribed equally to all Northern races. 


This Asa-faith also bore within itself the intimation 
of a higgler and purer faith, which looks forward to the 
greater and mightier God, who after Eagnarok was to 
be ruler over the new earth. It is in this particular 
point that the Asa-faith is supei'ior to all other heath- 
en religions. The conception of a divine life after this 
earthly existence was more clearly defined among the 
Norsemen than among any other heathen nations. 
Death was, for the brave, faithful and just, simply the 
transition to a better life, and this future life was not a 
wasted, indolent life; it was a life of joy and pleasure 
for those who had been living a just and heroic exist- 
ence; it was not like that of the Greeks, a miserable life 
in the shades. The Norsemen pictured to themselves a 
life of activity in communion with the gods, where 
they should live their lives over again as they were liv- 
ing them below. It was this religion that inspired the 
people of the North to acts of heroism and daring ; there 
was no danger so great that they did not dare to face 
it in battle, careless whether they survived or fell — if 
they were victorious and survived they had their pleas- 
ure in this life, if they fell in battle they were gath- 
ered up from the battle field by the Valkyries on fiery 
steeds and transported to Odin in Valhalla, a heav- 
enly abode where they were met by the gods and in- 
vited to their table, where they were served with cups 
filled with nectar and presented by beautiful maidens. 
Therefore the wari-ior could lose nothing by death, but 
would simply be transported, according to his belief, 
to a higher and better life, which would continue for- 

Divine worship was of two kinds, conducted either 
by direct appeal to the gods or by sacrifice; and this 


sacrifice, like the sacrifice of all nations, was frequent- 
ly blood sacrifice and was conducted under the open 
sky, upon an altar of stone, which was called Harg. 
Sometimes the gods were worshipped in temples erect- 
ed to certain particular deities, which were decorated 
with and adorned by their images. 

The Genius of the People and Their Social Relations. 
— The most prominent trait in the character of the in- 
dividual Swede and Goth was a strong and lively con- 
sciousness of his own personality, his powers and in- 
dependence as a free born person. To be free and in- 
dependent, and to owe service to none — this 
was the aim of the free born man's struggles, and this 
was the height of his ambition. Daring, bravery and 
courage were the characteristics which were always ap- 
preciated, and they alone entitled a man to honor in 
this life, and a recompense after death. When a man 
died a violent death, either in battle or otherwise, he 
had the right of entering Valhalla to partake of its 
joys and pleasures and to dwell among the gods. In 
order to avoid a sick bed death, which was considered 
unworthy of a free and brave man, it was customary 
for these brave warriors, when death was approaching, 
to cut themselves with the point of a spear, "writing 
runes unto Odin.'" The ancestors of the Swedes and 
Goths were noted for their contempt of death; they 
possessed an unbending will, great courage and a love 
of fighting, which sometimes in the' hour of battle de- 
veloped into a wild frenzy called berserksgang. When 
their anger was aroused, and their passions inflamed, 
tliej' often became revengeful and avoided any recon- 
ciliation with their enemies. They were wild and pas- 
sionate in their desires, yet at the same time they pos- 


sessed a high degree of shrewdness, while self-posses- 
sion, alertness of mind, and swift decision were charac- 
teristics which were" strengthened by an active life 
and constant exposure to, danger. They did not de- 
spise wiliness and cunning; yet a man who was frank 
and dealt fairly with his enemy was highly appreciated. 
They often showed kindness to the weak and unpro- 
tected, were true to their promises and faithful in ful- 
filling all their obligations. A beautiful trait of the 
Swedes' and Goths' fidelity is manifested in the oath 
taken by fosterbrothers and sealed by the ceremony of 
mingling their blood in a bowl and swearing to enjoy 
the pleasures and dangers of life together and to a- 
venge the other after death. The laws of hospitality 
were always recognized, and a guest had nothing to 
fear, even if he found himself under the roof of his en- 

The earliest social conditions which obtained among 
the people of Sweden after the settlement of the coun- 
try developed a strong feeling of personal independence 
among the settlers. The central organization in these 
communities was the tribe or family, and the father 
and husband ruled without interference on the part 
of his family. 

The tribes or families composing a social organiza- 
tion formed a community noted for its strong bondg 
of relationship. If a man fell in battle it was the duty 
of his surviving relatives or friends to avenge his 
death; on this account there was often bloody strife 
between the different communities,which was only end- 
ed in many cg,ses by the extermination of one of the 
tribes. The Chief of the tribe governed it with full 
power and authority; he controlled all the property 


of the family and cultivated the land belonging to it, 
of which he was considered the sole possessor. He 
was called Odalman or Bonde. He was the sole ruler 
over all the members of the family, over wife and chil- 
dren, servants and slaves: he had absolute authority 
of life and death over the slaves; and could either 
reject or accept a new born child. In the latter case 
the new born babe was placed in his lap and was bap- 
tized with water and given a name. The women in 
Sweden were treated with much more respect and con- 
sideration than among other nationalities.. It is true 
that prior to marriage the young swain had to purchase 
his bride by presents to the bride's father, but after 
she had once become the man's lawful wife she took 
her position as the housewife: she was free and re- 
spected, and became the "housefru" with full power 
to manage the household. From the family as a unit 
was developed the community, which later became the 
parish. Those tribes who lived in close alliance and 
became related by marriage, united for common protec- 
tion and formed what was called the harad or hundred: 
several of these hundreds were afterwards united and 
formed larger communities called fylkland, — folkland, 
a small province — finally these several provinces, 
either as a result of conquest or by voluntary consent, 
formed the greater organization of the kingdom. The 
system of government based upon such organizations of 
smaller or greater ^communities has been called a con- 
federation. The hundred as well as the province de- 
cided their interests at popular gatherings called Tings. 
Those who conducted the affairs or transactions at 
these Tings were chiefs of the hundreds; these were 
also the individuals who conducted the rites when the 


people offered sacrifices to the gods. Gradually each 
province appointed or elected its own chief, and these 
chiefs were called Law-men, because it was their duty 
to interpret the laws and explain them to the commun- 
ity. The Tings were held in the open air at a place 
near the sacred grove where sacrifices were offered. 
The bondes, or free landholders, assembled at these 
places; laws were passed, and all disputes were settled 
there; oaths of allegiance were taken and questions of 
war and peace determined: the gods were worshiped; 
sacrifices were made and a kind of commercial fair was 
held there also for the purpose of barter and exchange. 
The punishment for offenses and a breach of contract 
consisted mostly of fines and was a personal matter 
between the parties. Most of the crimes and offenses- 
could be settled by a fine. It was, however, seldom 
that murder could be thus settled, the relatives of the 
dead refusing to accept any less compensation than the 
death of the murderer: crimes had not yet become the 
concern of the community. A man who considered 
himself offended generally sought satisfaction on his 
own account, and frequently such disputes were only to 
be settled by a duel, which would be fought on some 
island or peninsula, and was therefore called — holm- 
gang. Robbery and burglary seldom occurred among 
free born men. Certain kinds of offenses were pun- 
ished by banishment, such as sacrilege and a breach 
of the temple's peace. 

Originally the chiefs of the hundred and the Law- 
men of the provinces were the leading men of the com- 
munity, but gradually there arose among and even 
over them more powerful r'hiefs,named petty kings, who 
were usually called Kings of fylkes, or Kings of the 


provinces; they generally sprang from the ranks of a 
number of warriors, who had been engaged in war 
in foreign lands, had organized themselves to- 
gether and proclaimed their leader King and Drott 
(chief priest). If he returned home crowned with vic- 
tory and success, having won booty and military glory, 
he kept his title, and was respected in the commun- 
ity in time of peace. Aided by his body-guard of war- 
riors he became a person of importance at home in his 
fylke, and having acquired property and wealth, his 
title of King and Drott descended to his children and 
descendants, if they were men of courage and good 

When these petty kings began to govern their fyl- 
kes, or provinces, they acted in the capacity of high 
priests and their principal duty was to sacrifice to 
the gods for the people whose leaders they became in 
wai'. They had no precedence over their followers 
other than that they received contributions and usually 
a larger share of the booty in time of war. In other 
respects the people continued to govern themselves by 
passing their own laws at the Tings, and decided their 
disputes likewise. The system of government was a 
government by the people, or a limited democracy; but 
as it was only the free born landholder who had a voice 
in the assemblies, members of the community who were 
not their own men, but were employed by the bondes, 
had no voice in the Tings; whilst they were not slaves, 
they were not electors. The system of government 
soon became an oligarchy. It is thus apparent that 
even in the earliest times the governmental system of 
Sweden showed a mixture of democracy, aristocracy 
and monarchy. 




The Elevation of the King. — The planner in which 
the Swedes in olden time elected their King was as fol- 
lows: The upper Swedes met at Mora Stone, near Up- 
sala. This was an open space, whereon were placed 
thirteen stones, twelve in a circle and one in the cen- 

ter. The Law-men sat on the ring of stones and the 
King, when elected, on the center one. After the Bondes 
at the Als-harjar Ting had signified the man of their 
choice then did the Law-man of Upland adjudge him 
King if he was properly elected. The old law says, 


"The Swedes have a right to elect their King and also 
to depose him." The most competent man became King. 
The King's son was often selected to succeed him be- 
cause such men were competent, having been 
trained from childhood for their high office. 

The ceremony was characteristic. After election the 
King was placed on a shield resting on the shoulders 
of stout warriors, who marched around and showed 
him to the people.' These proceedings signified firstly, 
that he was elevated by the people to this high office, 
and secondly, that he could hold it only so long as he 
was supported by the people. 

It was an old custom that after the election a her- 
ald should blow a blast on the horn or trumpet and 
then proclaim: "Now is A. B. elected King of the 
Svear and Gotar. He and none other." Many of these 
old customs have come down to the present day. 



Ynglinga Saga — Odin — Asgard — Odin and Gylfe-^Edda — Odin Settles at 
Sigtuna — Odin and His Followers — Character and Manners — Odin's 
Death — Mound — Njord — Sacrifices — Frey CaJled Yngve Founder of 
Yngling Dynasty — Upsala the Seat of Government of the Swedes — 
Upsala Temple's Magnificence — The Palace of the King — ^Destruc- 
tion — ^Freyja — Fjolner — First of the Ynglings — Visit to Frode in' 
Denmark — Death — Golden Age of Sweden — Svegder Ruler — His 
Travels and Death — Visbur — His Two Wives — Murdered by His 
Sons — Donalde Ruler — Famine — Donalde Sacrificed — Domar Ruler — ■ 
Famine Oracle — Disa — Complies -with the Oracle — The People Saved 
— Domar's Death and Funeral — Dygve — Dag's Wisdom — ^Agne — Vik- 
ing Expeditions — Skjalf — His Wife — His Manner of Death--Alrek 
and Eric — The Manner of Their Death. 

The Heimskringla, which contains the Ynglinga sa- 
ga, that is, the Chronicles of the Ynglings, the early 
Swedish Kings, represents Odin and the Asas histor- 
ically as the founders of the Northern Monarchies, and 
these sagas also tell whence these fathers of Nations 
came, and what their origin was. They came from 
Asahem, the home of the gods, in which was located 
Asgard, a great place of sacrifice, where lived Odin, a 
victorious chief, surrounded by twelve Diar (priests) 
also called Drottnar (rulers) who were also judges 
among the people. 

Odin came to Sweden with his followers, a company 
of wise, brave and powerful men. He found the coun- 
try fair, and rich in natural resources. At that time a 


king by the name of Gylfe was ruler over the people 
dwelling in Sweden. Odin and Gylfe tried the art of 
witchcraft and cunning upon each other; but the skill 
of the former was far superior to that of the latter, so 
they formed an alliance. Gylfe regarding Odin as a 
divine being, gave him and his followers the freedom 
of the country. The younger Edda relates how King 
Gylfe, who ruled over Svithiod, seeking to know the 
secrets of the gods, wandered far and wide until he 
came to Asgard. It was probably owing to these stor- 
ies and the description of Svithiod that Odin was in- 
duced to migrate thither, if in fact such a migration 
did take place. 

Odin took up his abode near by ancient Sigtuna 
upon the Malar Lake; built a temple to the gods and 
sacrificed after the manner of the Asas. His chiefs were 
named after the gods, equally honored, and were as- 
signed dwelling places whose names corresponded with 
those of the gods. The land was called Manhem to dis- 
tinguish it from Godhem, the country of the gods. It 
is said that all skill and cunning in the various arts of 
human life were derived from Odin and the Asas, who 
taught them to the' people, and who profited greatly 
thereby. As Odin, the Alfather, was the greatest among 
gods, so Odin, the priest, was the greatest among the 
high priests and rulers. 

Odin was a man of many accomplishments, which 
had much to do with his popularity. He was a poet 
and an eloquent speaker. When sitting among his 
friends his countenance was so calm and beautiful that 
all were charmed and delighted, but in war he was 
fierce and terrible; being stout-hearted and of good 
stature he inspired terror wherevei" he appeared on the 


field of battle. He could make his enemies blind, and 
their weapons blunt so that they could not hurt his 
followers. On the other hand, the Asa folk, strong 
as bears or wild bulls, would rush forward with the 
speed of a whirlwind, without armor or shields, and 
with their sharp, keen-edged weapons, cut down their 
opponents; neither fire nor iron, had any effect upon 
them. This sort of wild fighting was called "Berser- 

Odin could change his shape into that of au ani- 
mal or a fish; he could also transport himself to distant 
lands. He had a ship which he could fold together, 
and he could sail against the wind. Probably he in- 
troduced" sails and knew how to tack the vessel and 
beat to windward. He had two ravens which flew 
over all lands and brought him back news of what was 
going on in the world. He knew where missing things 
.?.nd treasures were concealed, and where gold and sil- 
ver were hidden in the mountains and the earth. His 
enemies dreaded him; his friends trusted him and stood 
by him and followed his counsel. Odin was a great 
law-giver, prescribing rules for the people in peace and 
war, detailing the manner of ottering sacrifice, and in- 
structing men how best to please the gods. He es- 
tablished the law that all dead men should be burned, 
and declared that the nature of a man's reception in 
Valhalla depended upon the pomp with which his fu- 
neral obsequies had been celebrated. He further or- 
dained that mounds should be raised over men of con- 
sequence, and great stones, called Bautastones, over 
distinguished warriors. 

Kipe in years and advanced in age, Odin knew he 
was approaching death; so, to carry out his own teach- 


ings he pierced himself with a spear in vital spots, say- 
ing he was going to Godhem to prepare a place in Val- 
halla for all his friends, and for all warriors who 
should fall in battle, where they were to live with him 
forever in bliss, and in the company of the gods. Odin 
was burned and there was a great display of splendor 
at the funeral pyre. His mound still exists at old Up- 
sala in Sweden. 

The Swedes believed that Odin often showe"d him- 
self to them; that he fought with them; that if they 
called upon him he gave them victory in battle; that 
if they showed courage and fought bravely, were 
wounded and fell in the strife, he would take them 
to Valhalla. In either event they were happy. 

After Odin's death, Njord, who was one of the Asas, 
became the chief Drott and ruler of the Swedes. He 
received contributions from the people, in return for 
which he was obliged to make sacrifices to the gods, 
and also to be the leader of the people in case of in< 
cursions by hostile tribes. In his time the country was 
blessed with peace and plenty. Is'jord died full of years, 
and in peace, but he insisted on dying in the Asa-faith 
by having "runes to Odin" written on his breast with 
the point of a spear. He was burned on a pyre and 
a great mound was raised over him. All Svithiod 
mourned his death. 

Frey thereupon became Drott. Taxes were paid to 
him as they had been to his father. Good years and 
prosperity prevailed during his time, and he had many 
friends and the good will of all. Frey was also known 
by another name, Yngve, and from him the Ynglings 
are descended, who came in a direct line from the gods; 


and so long as they were brave, good and just,theY con- 
tinued to rule over the Swedes. 

Yngve built a great temple at Upsala and made that 
place the seat of government. All taxes and contri- 
butions and large tracts of land'as well,he gave to the 
support of the temple ^yhich was thereafter called' Up- 
sala Oede — that is Upsala domains. . ; 

During his time also there was peace and plenty in 
the land, which blessings the people attributed to him, 
and as they had prospered so greatly they would not 
let him depart from them when he died; so he was not 
burned but was placed in a mound, and for three years 
tributes were paid to his memory in the shape of vast 
contributions of gold and silver which were placed in 
the Temple of Upsala. Frey was the god of the sea- 
sons, of rain and sunshine; and sacrifices were made to 
him to ensure abundant crops and a bounteous har- 

During the time of Yngve there was a most famous 
temple at Old Upsala, near the City of Upsala, where 
the Archiepiscopal seat of the Swedes and Goths 
now stands. This temple was the principal seat 
of sacrifices in Scandinavia prior to the introduction 
of Christianity. It was built with such magnificence 
that there were no ornaments to be seen on the walls, 
roof or pillars which were not overlaid with gold. 
The whole upper portion of the fabric was also made of 
shining gold, whence. a golden chain hung down which 
is recorded to have gone round about the temple to the 
walls and top of the building. Hence it was that the 
temple, situated on an elevation in the middle of a large 
plain, by its dazzling radiance begot in those who came 
near to it a veritable religious awe, and inspired them 


with reverence for the gods. It was filled with treas- 
ures and precious stones, rare gems gathered from 
all lands. 

There grew before the door of this magnificent 
temple a great tree of a kind unknown in these north- 
ern regions, which was always green, and upon whose 
branches blossoms of a sweet odor flowered co;Qtinual- 
ly; and a peculiarly sweet-flavored fruit grew upon it, 
which was said to have a wonderfully healing power 
over all diseases. There was also a beautiful grove 
of various kinds of trees surrounding the temple, and 
sacred to the gods. 

In the temple itself there was a fountain, and a 
stream of living water flowed out therefrom, taking 
its course over the plain, and rushing toward the 

This was the favorite spot for the assemblage of 
the Swedes and Goths. Here they sacrificed to the 
gods, and here was the bridge Bifrost which led to 
the gates of Asgard, the Valhalla of the ancients. 
Here Alsharjar of the Swedes and Goths met in full 
armor and ,elected their Kings by Mora stone which 
is close by ; and here were held their Tings or Parlia- 

This temple existed in all its glory long after 
Christianity had been introduced into Sweden, but 
when Christianity became the dominant religion and 
the offerings were discontinued, the temple was neg- 
lected and fell into decay. The infiuence of the priests 
caused the destruction of this once glorious edifice. 
The three large Kings' mounds, or Attehogar, of Odin, 
Thor and Frey are the sole remnants of the former 
glory of Old Upsala. 


After Frey's death, Freyja alone of the gods re- 
mained; she became on this account much celebrated. 
All women are called "Fru" after her, and the wife 
is called "House-fru", the mistress of the house and 
of her own property. Freyja continued the blood sac- 
rifices. Although very fickle-minded and capricious, 
she was called upon to promote love and matrimony. 
She brought blessings and prosperity to the house, 
and was worshiped as the household goddess. 

Fjolner Yngve, Frey's son, became ruler over the 
Swedes at Upsala after his father's death, and was the 
first of the Ynglings. He was powerful, courageous, 
peaceable, and lucky in that during his time the sea- 
sons were favorable to the raising of fine crops; ac- 
cordingly the people had abundance and were prosper- 
ous, and many sacrifices were made to the gods. King 
Frode ruled at that time in Leire, Denmark. Fjolner 
went to visit his friend Frode in Denmark. A great 
feast was prepared for him and his companions. They 
drank and were merry until late at night, when they 
retired to their sleeping rooms. King Frode had a 
large house in which he had built a great tank which 
was kept filled with mead, and was so situated that 
from the upper story of the house there was an opening 
in the top of the tank to draw the liquor. During the 
night Fjolner got up and wandered about in the dark- 
ness, came into the room where the mead tank was, 
fell in and was drowned. Hence the poet sang that 
Fjolner was drowned in Frode's house in a waveless; 
and windless sea. 

During the times that the gods ruled in Svithiod 
the people enjoyed an abundance of all earthly goods; 
peace and plenty, joy and happiness filled the land. 


This was the golden age of Sweden. But when the de- 
' scendants of the gods began to rule, evil also began t6 
contend with good, and even the good proved to be 
,a misfortune to humanity, as in the case of Fjolner, 
who was drowned in the tank of abundance. 

Svegder, who succeeded to power after the death 
of his father Fjolner, was pious, and desired to pene- 
trate into the mysteries of the gods. He traveled far 
and wide over all lands and was gone five years; when 
he returned he remained for some time in Svithiod. 
Then he started a second time in search of Asgard to 
consult with the gods. He came to a mansion called 
Sten where there was a stone as large as a house. As 
he was returning in the evening from a feast which 
he had attended he passed this large stone and saw a 
dwarf sitting in an opening under it who beckoned to 
him to come in. Sevgder in drunken bravado replied 
"I will follow thee to Odin," and walked in; the stone 
closed behind him, and he never came back. 

When no news had come from Svegder for a long 
time his son Vanlande became ruler over Upsala do- 
main in Svithiod. He was a great warrior, and with 
his ships went far and wide waging war in other 
lands. He came to Finland and conquered the Finns. 
He received King Suon's daughter, Drifa, in marriage. 
Having stayed over the winter in Finland he departed, 
leaving Drifa behind, and promising to return in three 
years. They had one son called Visbur. More than 
three years elapsed and still Vanlande did not return. 
Therefore, by means of witchcraft Drifa caused the 
Nightmare Mara to tread upon him at night until he 
died. The Swedes burned his body and raised a great 
Bautastone to his memory. 


Visbur upon the death of his father became ruler 
over the Swedes. He took to wife a daughter of Aude 
the, rich, by whom he had two sons. Then he left her 
and took another wife, who presented him with a son 
called Donalde. This was the commencement of that 
family strife which always terminates unfortunately 
for all concerned. The sibyl Huld prophesied that 
murders should not be wanting in the Yngling race. 

The two elder sons collected men and arms, and in 
the night time fell upon their father Visbur and burned 
him in his house. The murderers were driven away by 
the Swedes and did not gain anything by their bloody 
deed, but their half-brother, Donalde, ruled over the 
land after his father. 

In his time there was great famine and distress 
in Svithiod. The Swedes made great sacrifices at 
Upsala. The first year they sacrificed oxen; the next 
year there was no improvement in the harvest and so 
they sacrificed men, expecting a good harvest the suc- 
ceeding year, but no better harvest followed, and when 
the third autumn arrived all the Swedes met at the 
temple at Upsala. They took counsel together, and 
the chief men decided that the hard times were due 
to Donalde their ruler, and that he should be sacrificed 
for the good of the people, .and so they took him and 
killed him, and sprinkling his blood on the altars of 
the gods, they prayed for better times in the future. 

Domar, the son of the sacrificed Donalde, now ruled 
in his stead. It is related in other sagas that the times 
did not improve during the following years, and that 
hunger and drought prevailed. 

pehiod of The sagas. 4i 


Great was the famine in Sweden. The people died 
in countless numbers, and as in those days they be- 
lieved that their Kuler was to blame for all their mis- 
fortunes, they petitioned him for relief. The King in 
his despair sought counsel of the high priest, who, after 
consulting the oracles, announced to him that the gods 
were angry with the people and required as a sacrifice 
the slaughter of one-half of the population in order to 
save the other half, but that this terrible expedient could 
be avoided if a lovely and beautiful woman of the king- 
dom would present herself before the throne of the 
palace and plead the cause of the unfortunate people. 
The oracle further required that the fair intercessor 
should come neither clad nor unclad, neither walking, 
riding nor driving; she must come neither at night nor 
in the daytime, when the moon was neither on the wax 
nor on the wane. The response of the oracle was pro- 
claimed to the populace and great was the consterna- 
tion it caused among the sufferers, for it seemed impos- 
sible to comply with the demand of the gods. 

There were many sceptics who doubted the celestial 
origin of this oracle and insisted that this was simply 
a conspiracy between the King's ministers, who had 
neglected to provide for the people, and the high priest, 
who thought that the people had not been generous 
enough in their sacrifices; the latter would now have 
an opportunity of enriching his own coffers if the sen- 
tence of death was carried out, and would at the same 
time destroy all the heretics. 

Disa, a young and comely maiden, heard of the 


oracular decree and at once resolved to save her peo- 
ple and her country. Her heart overflowed with pity 
for the unfortunate and starving population. She con- 
sidered that as her people were a warlike people and 
the men had immortalized themselves on the field of 
battle, it was now time for woman to save the country 
even at the greatest risk. The King cursed the court 
ladies who would not raise a finger to save the unfortu- 
nate people of his realm from destruction. The ladies 
argued that the priest had devised the oracle for the 
purpose of disgracing them. 

Disa then put her plan into execution. At early 
dawn, before the rising of the sun, and when the mooh 
was full, Disa, surrounded by a great multitude, was 
seen approaching the palace partly resting on a cart 
drawn by two white harts. On the left side of the cart 
was harnessed a ram upon whose neck she rested her 
left leg booted and spun-ed. Her naked loveliness was 
visible through a garb of transparent light blue net- 
ting, with a girdle of roses surrounding her waist and 
her golden hair flowing down over her back. Thus ar- 
rayed, Disa, secure in her virtue, having interpreted 
rightly the divine oracle, appeared before the King 
to plead the cause of the people, in spite of the ridicule 
of the court ladies and the favorites of the King. She 
threw herself at the foot of the throne and begged for 
the revocation of the edict calling for the destruction 
of the people. Domar, moved by the plea of the beau- 
tiful suppliant and full of emotion, hastened to spread 
his royal mantle over her prostrate form, and declaring 
her worthy to be his consort, made her his Queen and 
disgraced and dismissed the high priest and the minis- 


ter of finance. Provision was made for feeding the 
starving multitude and tlie land was happy and con- 

King Domar reigned for many years longer, and 
ever after Disa's self-sacrifice and wise counsel and sym- 
pathy for the people the land was blessed with peace 
and plenty. Domar died at Upsala, and was burned on 
a great funeral pyre on Fyrisvall, where a great bauta- 
stone was raised to his memory. Domar was the first 
of his family to be given title of King. Heretofore, the 
rulers were called Drottnar and their wives Drottning- 
ar. A Drott was a high priest who performed the sac- 

Dygve, son of Domar, succeeded him in Upsala 
estate as ruler of the land. His mother was Drat, a 
daughter of King Daup of Denmark. 

Dag succeeded his father Dygve. He was said to be 
so wise that he understood the language of birds. He 
had a sparrow which came to him every day and told 
him the news. A farmer killed the sparrow in the field 
and Dag was so wroth that he called out the army and 
plundered the bonde. When they went back to their 
ships a slave rushed at them as they were embarking 
and threw a hayfork among them. It struck the King 
on the head and felled him dead. 

Agne, Dag's son, now became king. He was a pow- 
erful and famous man, expert and well-skilled in all 
athletic feats, and a great warrior. He invaded the 
Eastern coast of the Baltic and conquered the Finns. 
Their chief, Fraste, was killed, and a large amount of 
booty and treasures were taken by the victors. He 
carried away Fraste's daughter, Skjalf, and brought 




her to Stocksund, now Stockholm, where he married 
her. To the wedding he invited all the celebrated men, 
and there was a great feast and much drinking in 
honor of the occasion. The King carried a gold chain 
around his neck. When he had gone to sleep at night 
Skjalf took a rope and fastened it to the chain, threw 
it over a branch of a tree and hanged him with her own 
hands. Moral: Beware of the woman you have in- 

Alrek and Eric of the Ynglings became joint rulers 
of Sweden after Agne. They made incursions among 
the people dwelling on the east and south shores of 
the Baltic and brought home great riches. The land 
was full of plenty and blest with good harvests. Both 
Kings were great lovers of horses. ' One day they were 
on a hunting trip in the woods and became separated 
from their followers; as they did not return their ret- 
inue sought them only to find both dead, having killed 
each other with the bridles of their horses. 

Kings' Mounds, Old Upsala. 




Goths of Sweden — Migration and Eoute— Origin of the Goths on the 
Dnieper — Roman Provinces — Jordanes — Menzel's Account of the 
Goths — Ostrogoths and Visigoths — ^Their Habitation in Sweden — 
Charles XII. and the Goths^-Similarity of Language — ^Relation Be- 
tween Goths of Sweden and Goths of Southern Europe — Goths the 
Emperor's Guard — Roman Coins in Swedisli Museum — ^Their Dates — 
Roman Subsidies sent to Sweden — Tradition of the Goths in Sweden 
and Italy — Causes of Later Migrations — Goths in the Ukraine — In- 
vasion of the Roman Territory — ^First Conilict with Roman Army — 
Cniva King of the Goths at the Walls of Nicopolis — Siege of Philip- 
popolis — ^Decius Advances against the Goths — ^They Retreat — ^Attack 
on the Romans — Plunder Their Camp — Destruction of Philip- 
popolis — Goths Surrounded by the Romans — Negotiations for Peace 
— Demands of the Roman Emperor — Battle of the Forum Terebronii 
— 'Death of the Emperor — Victory of the Goths — Conflict with the 
Huns — Death of Attila — Theodoric King of the Goths in Italy — 
Extinction of the Goths. 

The Goths who lived in the central and southern 
part of the Swedish peninsula during the early Chris- 
tian era rapidly increased in number. Famine occurred 
at frequent intervals, for the resources of the country 
were limited. The inhabitants being of an adventurous 
disposition, sought to conquer other lands, and during 
the second century they embarked in considerable num- 
bers and, leaving Sweden, crossed the Baltic and fol- 
lowed the stream of the Vistula ; thence they crossed 
over the Dnieper or to the Danube q,nd me^de inroads 


into the Eastern portion of the Koman Empire. They 
are known in history as the Goths, who during the 
fourth centui'y conquered the Roman legions and 
later erected a Gothic kingdom on the ruins of Eome. 

Map of the world as known to the Swedes during Pagan and Viking 
times. The dotted line shows the route of the Goths and the Vikings. 

The Gothic Historian, Jordanes, a Bishop in Italy, 
and of Gothic descent, relates that the Goths original- 
ly came 'from Scandia (Scania, Skane) the Southern 
peninsula of Sweden, When they landed on the con- 

320—711. THE GOTHS. 47 

tinent many warlike tribes formed an alliance with 
them, and their numbers were increased constantly 
by the arrival of detachments of their kindred from 
Sweden. Wolfgang Menzel the German historian 
says: "Toward the close of the second century the 
great nation of the Goths, accompanied by countless 
other Northern tribes, descended from the North to the 
coast of the Black Sea. Tradition records that the 
ancestors of the Goths sailed in three ships commanded 
by King Berig, from their ancient home Gothland in 
Sweden to the German side of the Baltic, and landed 
at Dantzig. One of their ships arrived later than the 
rest ; the men on board of it received the name of 
Gepidae, from the word gapa, to stare idly, to delay, 
to gape. They became known by that name in history 
afterwards." We doubt that a brave people like the 
Gepidae would assume and retain such an odious name, 
as one who stands and "gapar" is a thoughtless, silly 
and half idiotic person. Bradley in his history of the 
Goths, relating the same picturesque event, derives Cle- 
pidae from the Gothic word "gepanta," meaning slow. 
It may not improperly be applied to this body of the 
Gothic race, as the Gepidae were not in the advance 
rank of the conquering Goths. 

According to the early historians, who are followed 
by Zimmerman and other German writers, and especial- 
ly by the great historian Gibbon in his "Decline and 
Fall of the Koman Empire," in whicb he gives mucii 
attention to the Goths, and from songs and sagas and 
other historical evidence, it may fairly be concluded 
that the Goths from Sweden became the dominant race 
which for several centuries during the decline of Rome 


swept over the European continent The Goths were 
the leaders, the nucleus around which other Germanic 
peoples and nations clustered. They are described as 
tall, powerful and athletic, with light hair and beards 
and fair complexions, a description which corresponds 
more nearly to the Swedes of central and upper Sweden 
than to any other people. The account of their 
dress and manners of life also corresponds with that 
of the inhabitants of that country during these times. 
Whether the Ostrogoths and Visigoths were so dis- 
tinguished from each other by their relative situations 
on the Danube, or by their early home in Sweden can- 
not be determined on positive historical evidence. But 
the two Swedish provinces of East Gothland, inhabited 
by the Ostrogoths, and West Gothland, inhabited by 
the Visigoths, have retained their names, individuality, 
laws, customs and peculiarities for more than 2,000 
years, and no places on the map of Europe bear the 
same names. The name of "Swede" was generally 
adopted by the whole country but it did not on that 
account extinguish the identity of the Goths. The 
Swedes have always claimed a kinsman's share in the 
glory of the Goths. In a moment of discontent with 
the court of Eome, Charles XII., addressing the Nuncio 
of the Vatican, said : — "My victorious troops have not 
degenerated, but still resemble my ancestors who 
once conquered the Mistress of the World." 

The close similarity between the Kunic alphabet of 
Sweden during the Pagan times and the Gothic writ- 
ings as contained in Ulfilas' translation or version of 
the Bible, made during the fourth century, may here 
bo considered as showing the close relationship between 
the Goths of Sweden and the Goths of the Danube. 
Many words in the Gothic version are the same as those 

320—711, THK UOTHS. 49 

found in the earliest Swedish writings, and in the laws 
of West Gothland. Certain nines are used in both texts. 

The following "Lord's Prayer" is from the original Gothic Codex Ar- 
genteus of Bishop Ulfilas' Bible, now preserved at Upsala University, 
Sv?eden, printed here, however, in modern- type. 

The compound "th" is a single character in the old Swedish, and 
in Gothic the same as the old rune. 

Atta unsar thu in himinam veihnai namo thein. qimai thiudinassus 
theins. vairthai vilja theins. sve in himina jah ana airthai. hlaif unsarana 
thana sinteinan gif uns himma daga. jah aflet uns thatei skulans sijaima. 
svasvie jah veis afletam thaim skulara .unsaraim. jah ni briggais uns 
in fraistubniai. ak lausei uns af t-hamma ubilin. unte theina ist 
thiudangardi. jah mahts jah vulthus. in aivins. amen. 

In studying comparative philology, whilst we find the word "theod" 
in other ancient languages to mean people, this must, nevertheless, be 
said, that there appears to be no nation or people to whom it has 
been applied except Svithiud (Svithiod) which is the Kingdom of the 
Swedes (Sviar rike). 

Ulfilas uses the "thiudinassus" and "thiudangardi" to express the 
"Kingdom" of God. The "gard"' in Swedish is "home," or "dwelling," 
and is applied to gods and men. "Asgard" is the home of the gods. 

Luke, Chap. 18, v. 17: "Andnimith thiundagarda Goths sve barn," 
is plain Swedish; "anamma riket af Gud (Guds rike) som barn," trans- 
lated into English "to receive the Kingdom of God as a little child." 

Many other examples could be adduced to show a similarity between 
the two languages, the Gothic and the old Swedish. 

These warlike and commercial relations between 
the North and the South continued uninterruptedly 
for centuries, and the numbers of the continental Goths 
were constantly augmented by Swedes and Goths who 
left their Northern homes for the South and there 
joined their kindred. The Eoman historians relate that 
the Goths pressed hard upon the Empire and that 
tribute was paid to them by the Roman Emperors. 
This tribute in gold and silver, in coins and ornaments, 
found its way to Sweden in great abundance. 

Many of the Swedes and Goths were retained as 


the bodyguard of the Eastern Koman Emperors, for 
their loyalty was more to be relied upon than that of 
the Konjans. The communications between these war- 
riors at Constantinople and their kindred at home were 
frequent and continuous. 

A visit to the National Museum. at Stockholm and 
an inspection of the large quantity of Roman coins, gold 
and silver jewels and ornaments, armor, swords, ves- 
sels and statuary found in mounds, graves, peat-beds, 
lakes and ruins which are exhibited there must con- 
vince a fair-minded person that close and constant in- 
tercourse took place between the people of Sweden and 
the Roman Empire, before the former became Chris- 

These vast treasures have been found in various 
parts of Sweden, on the Eastern coast as well as in the 
central provinces. More than 320 gold coins of the 
Eastern and Western Roman Empire, dating from 457 
to 474 A. D., have been found buried in the ground in 
Sweden. Coins of later dates have been found in even 
greater number. The source of this gold stream was 
doubtless the subsidy which the Romans were com- 
pelled to pay the Goths who at first fought against 
them and later made an alliance with them. 

Theodosius the Second in 477 A. D. was forced by 
the Goths to increase their subsidy from 700 to 2,100 
pounds of gold. Leo the First (457-474) refused to pay 
the subsidies. The Empire was accordingly invaded, 
and to pacify the Goths their subsidy was increased by 
300 pounds of gold. Zeno (474-491) who succeeded Leo, 
paid enormous sums to Theodoric, King of the Ostro- 
goths, to secure his alliance and protection. 

320—711. TEE GOTHS. 51 

The fact that such large quantities of the gold coins 
found in ruins and mounds in Sweden bear the names 
and dates of these three Horn an Emperors is an argu- 
ment in favor of the Goths being closely related to the 
Goths of Sweden. 

It is not only gold and silver coins that have been 
found under ruins and in the ground in Sweden, but 
also arm rings, buckles and ornaments for shields, 
swords and helmets. One of the largest treasures that 
has been found in Sweden, — in fact in Europe — ^was 
found on the estate of Tureholm in Sodermanland, be- 
longing to Gount Bjelke. An old wooden building had 
been torn down, and on clearing the ground and digging 
up the soil, about one foot below the surface there were 
discovered a large number of gold coins, rings large 
and small, plain and chased, buckles and ornaments, 
the whole weighing 29 pounds and estimated to be 
worth over |30,000. One of the rings was intended to 
be worn around the neck and weighed about two 
pounds and was 98 per cent pure gold. Of the several 
articles of this treasure, some date from the period 
above described and some from the sixth century. 

Through songs and sagas successive generations of 
the Goths were able to preserve a faint tradition of 
their Scandinavian origin during their victorious 
marches through the Eoman Empire. A. distinct ac- 
count of the times and circumstances of their emigra- 
tion cannot be expected. The inhabitants of Sweden 
were masters of a sufficient number of large vessels 
with oars, and the distance from Carlskrona to the 
nearest ports of Pomerania, Prussia, and Kiga on the 
Dyna is little more than 100 miles. Here we find our- 


selves on firm and historic ground at least as early as 
•the Christian era, and the records continue as late a.^ 
the age of the Antonines. Tie Goths were established 
in Sweden and on the Vistula and along the shores of 
the Baltic. It would seem that they were sub- 
divided into Ostro-Goths and Visi-Goths during the 
earlier period of their history. About the reign of 
Alexander Severus, Dacia had already experienced 
their proximity in the shape of frequent and destruc- 
tive inroads. The Goths continued to move Eastward 
from the Baltic following the rivers Dyna and Vistula, 
crossing the uplands of what is now Western Kussia 
and then going by way of the rivers Dnieper and 
Dniester or Danube across the Euxine Sea to Gonstanti- 
nople. Either a pestilence or a famine, a victory or a 
defeat, an oracle of the gods or the eloquence of a dar- 
ing leader, served to impel the Gothic people to march 
towards the milder climates of the South. Besides the 
influence of a martial religion, the numbers and spirit 
of the Goths were equal to the most dangerous 
adventures. The use of round bucklers and sjiort 
swords rendered them formidable in a close engage- 
ment; the manly obedience which they yielded to 
hereditary Kings gave uncommon union to their coun- 
cils; and the renowned A mala, the hero of that age, 
and the tenth ancestor of Theodoric, King of Italy, en- 
forced, by the ascendency of personal merit, the pre- 
rogative of his birth, which he derived from the Asas, 
or demi-gods of the Gothic nation. 

The Goths had at this time taken possession of the 
Ukraine, a tract of territory of considerable extent and 
uncommon fertility intersected by navigable rivers and 

S20— 711. iHiL GOTHS. 63 

interspersed with large and lofty forests. The coun- 
try was rich in game, fish and honey. The soil was 
productive, the temperature of the air was moderate 
and nature seemed to provide an abundance for the 
support of man. Here the Goths dwelt for a while, but 
they did not take kindly to husbandry. The prospect 
of the Eoman territories close by was far more alluring. 
So the invaders traversed the richly cultivated Prov- 
ince of Dacia and passed the Dniester and the Danube 
without encountering any oppo,sition capable of retard- 
ing their progress. 

The relaxed discipline of the Eoman troops be- 
trayed the most important posts where they were sta- 
tioned, and the fear of deserved punishment induced 
great numbers of them to enlist under the Gothic 
standard. The various multitude of the Goths and 
their allies appeared at length under the walls of 
Marcianopolis, a city built by Trajan in honor of his 
sister, and at that time the capital of the second 
Moesia. The inhabitants consented to ransom their 
lives and property by the payment of a large sum of 
money, and the invaders retreated across the Dniester 
animated by, rather than satisfied with,the first success 
of their arms against an opulent but feeble country. 
Intelligence was soon transmitted to the Emperor 
Decius, that Cniva, King of the Goths, had passed the 
Danube a second time with more considerable forces; 
that his numerous detachments had scattered devasta- 
tion over the province of Moesia, whilst the main body 
of the army, consisting of seventy thousand Goths and 
their allies, a force equal to the most daring achieve- 
ments, required the presence of the Koman Monarch, 
and the manifestation of his military superiority. 


Decius found the Goths engaged before Nicopolis. 
On his approach they raised the siege, but only with 
the design of marching away to a conquest of greater 
importance, the siege of Philippopolis. 

Decius followed them through a difficult country 
by forced marches; but while he imagined himself at 
a considerable distance from the rear of the Goths, 
Cniva turned with rapid fury on*his pursuers. The 
camp of the Romans was surprised and pillaged, and, 
for the first time, their emperor fled in disorder before 
a troop of the victorious Goths; who now returned 
and took Philippopolis by storm. A hundred thousand 
persons were massacred, the city was sacked and 
plundered, and the enemy obtained an immense booty. 
Decius reorganized his legions. He intercepted several 
parties of the Carpi and Germans who now prepared 
to share in the victories of the Goths, and exerted him- 
self to the utmost to check their advances. 

The Goths were now on every side surrounded and 
pursued by the Eoman arms. The flower of their 
troops had perished before Philippopolis, and the ex- 
hausted country could no longer support the warlike 
multitude. They would gladly have purchased, by the 
surrender of their booty, the permission to retire un- 
disturbed. But the Emperor, confident of victory, and 
resolved, by the chastisement of these invaders, to 
strike a salutary terror into the Nations of the North, 
refused to listen to any terms of agreement. The 
high-spirited Goths, who still clung to the faith of their 
fathers, preferred death and Valhalla to disgrace and 
slavery. An obscure town of Moesia, called Forum 
Terebronii, was the scene of the battle. The Gothic 

320—711. THE GOTHS. 55 

army was drawn up in three lines, the front of the third, 
line being covered by a morass. In the very beginning 
of the action one of the sons of Decius was killed by a 
Gothic arrow in the sight of his father. The conflict 
was terrible; it was a combat of despair on the part of 
the Goths against grief and rage on the part of the 
llomans. The first line of the Goths at length gave 
way in disorder; the second, advancing to sustain it, 
was driven back with great loss; and the third only re- 
mained entire, prepared to dispute the passage of the 
morass, which was imprudently attempted by the over- 
confident, because now victorious, enemy. Here 
the fortune of the day turned, and all things became 
adverse to the Komans; the ground was heavy with 
ooze, which gave way under those who stood still, and 
offered but a slippery surface to such as advanced; their 
armor was heavy; the waters were deep; nor could 
they, in that uneasy situation, wield their 
weighty javelins. The Goths on the contrary were 
inured to encounters in the bogs, and their great height 
as well as their long spears enabled them to inflict 
wounds at a considerable distance. In this morass the 
Koman army, after an ineffectual struggle, was irre- 
trievably lost; nor could the body of the Emperor ever 
be found. Whilst the Goths had lost heavily in this 
encounter, their victory was complete and the Roman 
Empire lay open to them; and they were not slow in 
following up their advantage. Hostilianus became 
Emperor with Gallus as his associate whose first care 
was to deliver the lUyrian provinces from the intoler- 
able weight of the victorious enemy. They retained the 
rich fruits of their invasion, an immense booty, and a 
large number of the wealthy and important citizens 


of the Eoman Empire. Their camp was supplied with 
every convenience that fcould assuage their angry 
spirits, or facilitate their so much wished for depart- 
ure; and the Emperor even promised to pay them annu- 
ally a large sum of gold, on condition that they should 
never afterwards infest the lloman territories by their 
incursions. The Goths, by this victory and its conse- 
quences, became conscious of their superiority, and 
step by step they made their power felt within the 
Roman Empire. It was a new power within the state 
which could not be so readily shaken off. 

Ermanaric who seems to have been chosen King of 
the Goths in the year 350 was a great warrior. He did 
not pursue the same course as his ancestors by plunder- 
ing and destroying surrounding nations. He estab- 
lished his empire on the banks of the Dnieper, where 
he succeeded well for a while, but his people, being 
of a roving disposition, did not take kindly to a set- 
tled and domestic life. He died in the year 375. From 
this tiine until the death of Attila A. D. 453 the Goths 
kept up a constant struggle with the Huns, and at last 
became independent. The great Theodoric of the royal 
line of the Goths was destined to raise the Ostrogothic 
nation to the highest position among the people of the 
Teutonic stock. The name of Theodoric is the most 
glorious in Gothic history. It was he who in the 
year 488 advanced from the banks of the Danube across 
Southern Europe into Italy, which appeared to the 
Goths a sort of promised land. Theodoric marched 
down and took possession of Italy, where he estab- 
lished his throne on the ruins of the Caesars, but he 
proved to be one of the wisest and best Monarchs* 

S20— 711. THE GOTHS. 67 

that had ruled over Italy for many centuries. After 
his death Gothic Kings ruled in this country for about 
150 years, when on account of their small number the 
Goths were gradually absorbed and eventually lost 
to history. 

NOTE.— The following is a fae-simile from Ulfilas' Gothic New Tes- 
tament, Luke, Chap. 18, v. 17 , referred to on page 49 : 

AIM16INI M^^A 'fl^ViS. SAei m 



Sannerligen sager jag eder; hvilken som ieke anammar Guds rike 
som ett barn, han kommer aldrig darin. 


Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of 
God as a little child, shall in no wise enter therein. 



Yngve and Alf— Yngve a Great Warrior — ^Alliance with Goths against 
Rome— Ships and Booty— AJf's Jealousy of Bera— Double Murder— 
Hugleik King — Peace in the Land — Hake and Hagbard Invade 
Svithiod — Battle of Fyrisvall — Jorund and Sirik — ^Yngve's Sons 
Celebrated Vikings — Return to Upsala — Battle — Funeral Pyre of 
- Hakon — Jorund King — Ane King-^Invasion of the Danes — ^Ane Sac- 
rifices Nine Sons — Death — Egil King — Treasurer Tunne Embezzler — 
Tunne's Conspiracy — Highway Robbers — Egil's Death — Ottar King — 
Adils Viking in Saxland Marries Yrsa — Helge Rules in Denmark — 
Rolf Krake Invades Svithiod — Scatters Gold on Fyrisvall — Adils' 
Death — Oesten Ruler — Sea Kings — Salve Victorious — Yngvar a 
Warrior — ^Invasion of Eastern Country — Anund Ruler — ^Encourages 
Husbandry — His Death — Ingjald Ilrada's Banquet — Petty Kings 
Murdered — Ivar Vidfamne Destroys Ingjald — Olaf Tratalja — ■ 
Descent of Norwegian Kings — Yngling Kings Extinct — Ivar Dynasty 
' — Auda — -Randver — Sigurd Ring — Harald of Denmark — ^War with 
King of Sweden — Battle of Bravalla — Harald's Funeral Pyre — Sigurd 
Ring's Death. 

The Ynglinga Saga relates that Alrek had two 
sons, Yngve and Alf, who succeeded as joint rulers and 
Drotts in Svithiod.' In manners, character and intel- 
lect the two men were very different. Yngve was pos- 
sessed of all the manly virtues. Handsome, strong, and 
athletic, a great warrior, and always successful in bat- 
tle, he was also generous and affable, and had many 
friends. He had gained many victories as an ally of 
the Goths against the Eomans and other nations on 
the continent. His ships had plowed every sea, and 


on his return to Upsala he had brought home great 
booty of silver, gold and costly raiments. 

His brother Alf was small in stature, a silent, con- 
ceited man, arbitrary and domineering toward his 
inferiors, who stayed home at Upsala and spent his 
tinle in sacrificing. He had a wife called Bera, a beau- 
tiful, fair and most agreeable woman, bright and in- 
telligent, in manners fascinating and gay. 

King Yngve returned home from his Viking expe- 
ditions possessed of immense wealth and crowned with 
glory. His many acts of daring and the victories he 
had won were constant topics of conversation at the 
court, where festivities continued uninterruptedly. 

Yngve often sat long in the evenings at the drinking 
table with his companions and the ladies of the court, 
telling stories of battles, adventures and hairbreadth 
escapes. Alf took no pleasure in these entertainments 
but went to bed and to sleep early. His queen Bera 
sat with Yngve at the table and enjoyed his company. 
Alf upbraided her, and told her she must go to bed 
before he did, and not disturb him in his sleep, to which 
Queen Bera replied: "Happy would be the woman who 
had Yngve for her husband, a man with so many 
extraordinary qualities of mind and character." One 
evening when Yngve and Bera were sitting at the table 
in the high seats, and all the guests were merry and 
happy. King Alf came unobserved into the banquet 
hall, walked up to King Yngve, drew a sword from 
under his cloak and stabbed his brother. Yngve 
leaped up quickly, drew his s^ord and struck Alf with 
it, killing him instantly. Both fell dead on the floor, 
and bpth were buried in mouiids on the Fyrisvall. 


The sons of Yngve were still children, so Hugleik, 
Alf s son, was elected King. He was no warrior and 
remained at Upsala attending to the sacrifice. He in- 
herited wealth from his father, was greedy, selfish, 
and domineering like him. , He maintained a great 
state at his court where he kept players, fiddlers, 
dancers, magicians and witches. A curse had been 
pronounced upon his ancestors which seemed to follow 
them from one generation to the next. 

There were two brothers, celebrated Sea-kings, who 
had commanded a great force of armed men and ber- 
serkers, called Hake and Hagbard. King Hake came 
with his troops to Svithiod to fight King Hugleik, who 
on his side collected a large force of his men to oppose 
Hake. Hake had twelve berserkers, men of great 
power, and was himself a terrible combatant. They 
fought with wild desperation. Hake was victorious; 
many of Hugleik's men fell and his two sons were 
killed. This battle took place on Fyrisvall, and was 
celebrated in songs and sagas composed in honor of 

Hake subdued the country and ruled at Upsala for 
three years. Jorund and Sirik, the sons of the cele- 
brated Yngve, had been sailing in their ships on viking 
expeditions to distant lands, and had become celebrat- 
ed for their many victories in Denmark and on the 
western coast of Europe. They fought a battle with 
the King of Denmark, cleared his ship and took him 
prisoner. Their reputation was spread far and wide. 
When they heard that Hake ruled in Svithiod and that 
he had sent his companions away to other lands they 
steered homeward with their companions. When the 



Swedes heard that the Ynglings had arrived in Lake 
Malaren, they flocked to them in great numbers. The 
brothers advanced toward Upsala against King Hake 



who came out to meet them with a smaller army, yet 
he cut right and left among their ranks and killed 
Sirik, whereupon Jorund fled to his ships, but Hake 


had received so many wounds that he felt near to 
death. He then ordered his men to place him, together 
with his dead companions, with arms and treasures 
on one of his ships, hoist all sail and put her out to ^ea, 
which was done. The wind blowing from the land 
filled the sails of the vessel, which had been set on fire, 
and all ablaze it went sViftly to sea and out of sight. 
So sailed Hake to Odin in Valhalla. This deed be- 
came famous in after times. Jorund returned to 
Upsaia and assumed the government, but spent the 
summers with his men on viking expeditions. He was 
killed in Denmark. 

Ann, or Ane, Jorund's son, became King over 
Svithiod. He was a wise and just man. As high 
priest he made sacrifices to all the gods, and the people 
enjoyed prosperous times. But the Danish Kings 
sailed their warships into Lake Malaren, and on two 
occasions Ane was driven from Upsaia and fled to his 
kindred, the Goths in West Gothland, but after twenty- 
five years he came again to the kingdom, and lived to 
an old age. The sagas tell that every tenth year he 
offered one of his sons and received Odin's promise 
that his days should be prolonged ten years for every 
son he sacrificed. When he was 180 years he had 
offered nine sons, and had only one son left. The 
Swedes would not allow this son to be sacrificed, and so 
Ane the Old died, and was placed in the mound, and 
his son Egil became King in his stead. 

Egil was a lover of peace and quiet, and attended to 
the sacrifices of the temple. Much gold and silver had 
accumulated in the royal treasury during the previous 
reign. Ane the Old had appointed Tunne, a slave, his 
counsellor and treasurer, and when the old King died 


Tunne proved himself to be a modern embezzler. He 
robbed the treasury, took the gold, silver and jewels, 
removed them and buried them in the earth. 

When Egil became King he appointed another treas- 
urer, and Tunne was placed among the other slaves. 
They formed a conspiracy, dug up the treasures and 
fled to the woods. All classes of criminals flocked to 
Tunne and they divided the spoils. Thereupon they be- 
gan a course of steady robbery throughout the coun- 
try. The King called out his army, and a lengthy 
struggle began, as many as eight battles taking place. 
The King was theloser each time, and at length fled to 
Denmark. King Frode sent his army with Egil to 
Sweden, and was met by Tunne. This time the latter 
was defeated and slain, and all his followers were killecl 
or banished from the country. Egil was afterwards 
gored to death by a wild bull when out hunting. 

Ottar, the son of Egil, became King in Svithiod 
after his father. There was no love lost' between him 
and Frode, King of Denmark, and both parties began 
to ravage and burn each other's country. Ottar was 
killed in Denmark. 

■ Adils, Ottar's son, became his successor in Svithiod, 
and reigned for many years. He was rich and pos- 
sessed many cattle, servants, and plenty of cultivated 
land. He had also vessels manned with good men, 
and sailed every summer to foreign lands on trading 
or viking expeditions, whichever would be the most 
remunerative. Once Adils with hi^s fleet came to 
Saxonland, They went to the palace but the King was 
away on a tour. A herd of cattle was seized and driv- 
en to the ships, There was among the prisoners of war 


a beautiful, bright and intelligent girl called Yrsa. 
King Adils fell in love with her and she became Queen 
of Svithiod, and a great favorite in her adopted coun- 

King flelge at this time ruled in Denmark. He 
came with a great army to fight Adils, who lost the 
battle and fled into the country. Yrsa, his Queen, was 
carried captive to Denmark, but was released and re- 
turned to Upsala. Adils also had wars with a King 
of Norway. 

King Helge of Denmark took Yrsa to be his wife 
during her captivity and they had born to them a son 
called Eolf Krake, who in the sagas became a renowned 
champion. Once he attacked the Swedes at Upsala, 
but they drove him off. Kolf Krake and his men fled. 
He had with him a horn full of gold which he scattered 
on the road; as the pursuers stopped to pick up the 
gold he gained time to escape. Hence the gold is 
called "Eolf Krake's seed," and "Fyrisvall's seed," be- 
cause this happened on the plain of Fyrisvall. King 
Adils fell from his horse and was killed during a sacri- 
ficial feast at Upsala. 

Oesten, Adils' son, then became ruler in Upsala. 
During his time there were many sea fights between 
the Swedes, Danes and Norwegians, and not always 
between the Kings who governed as the lawful rul- 
ers, but between a large number of Sea-kings who 
were just what we call pirates, feeding upon the com- 
merce of the countries and the peoples around the 
Baltic and the western coast of Europe. A man who 
had neither a foot of ground nor a roof over his head, 
and who lived on bis ship might well be called a Sea- 


While one of the Sea-kings, Salve, was plundering 
the countries on the Baltic he came unexpectedly to 
Svithiod during a feast which was being held by 
Oesten. Salve surrounded his house, set fire to it, and 
burned Oesten and all his company to death. Salve 
then attempted to gain recognition by the Swedes as 
their King, but they assembled a great army and re- 
plied to his demands that they would not have a robber, 
a pirate and a murderer to rule over them, and then 
began a fearful battle which is said to have lasted 
for eleven days.. Salve was victorious and became 
ruler over the Swedes, but was later betrayed and 

Yngvar, the son of Oesten of the Ynglings line, then 
became ruler at Upsala. He was a great warrior of 
the old stamp, and had many war ships. He made 
peace with the Danes and other near neighbors for the 
protection of his country when he was away on sea- 
faring expeditions up the Volga and through the 
Eastern countries and South to Miklagard (Constan- 
tinople). He returned in the fall of each year with 
great riches acquired during his voyage. One summer 
he invaded Esthonia, and made an attack on the city 
Stein, but the Esthonians came in great numbers, fell 
upon him unawares and slew him. Thus he found a 
grave in a foreign land. 

After him Anund became the ruler over Svithiod. 
The country now enjoyed peace and plenty, for the 
crops were fine and there was an abundance of grain. 
The population increased rapidly and Anund, to aug- 
ment the welfare of the people, gave to all able-bodied 
persons a tract of land for them each to plough and 
cultivate. Great tracts of land were cleared, brok* 


en and cultivated, and many roads were built through 
the country. The King was consequently called Braut- 
Anund, and proved one of the most popular Kings of 
Sweden. On one of his journeys through the country, 
while resting under a mountain an avalanche of stones 
and rocks fell upon him and his suite, and buried 
them. Anund was greatly mourned by his people. He 
had a son, Ingjald, who became his successor. 

While the rulers were called Kings of Svithiod, 
they by no means exercised any authority over the 
other provinces of Sweden. There were many petty 
kings each holding sway within his own boundaries. 
The magnificent Upsala temple, where the yearly sacri- 
fices were held, was the common property of all the 
Swedes and Goths, but the Upsala King, being also the 
high priest in charge of the temple, became the; 
first person of the land in consequence. Add to this 
the claim that the Upsala Kings were the direct de- 
scendants of the gods, and that the priesthood had 
been continuously kept in the Ynglings family, and 
one can see how they were looked up to as the most 
important men in the country, .and how they strove 
hard to bring the other petty kings and provinces into 

Now when Ingjald had begun to govern he invited 
to the annual sacrifices all the petty kings of the coun- 
try and prepared a great festival. He had built a 
large hall especially for his guests and their suites, 
and treated them royally. When he had made them 
all drunk, at a given signal his men closed all the doors 
and set fire to the building. All who tried to escape 
were cut down and killed. By this atrocious act Ingjald 
became ruler over all Sweden, though for his perfidy 


he was called "'Illrada" (ill-ruler), and so continued 
for some years, but fate had ordained that he was to 
be destroyed by the same means which he had used 
to obtain dominion over the country. The cup of 
iniquity of this race of Ynglings was full. When Ivar 
Vidfamne had invaded Sweden, Ingjald and his family 
were burned in their own house. 

Ingjald had a natural son, Olaf, who was driven 
from his home at Upsala. He went over to the other 
side of the large forest and settled in Vermland near 
the borders of Norway. Many persons came to him 
and began a new settlement there. Olaf became a 
successful agriculturist, the land was cleared, and the 
people waxed prosperous. He is known in Swedish 
history as Olaf Tratalja (wood-chopper).- The Norby 
Kings of Norway trace their lineage through him up 

to the gods. 

The Ingjald Illrada of the Ynglingasaga relates on- 
ly to the Kings of Svithiod who had laid no claim to be 
rulers over the Goths of West Gothland and East Goth- 
land. A line of independent Kings descended from 
Gant, another name for Odin, had ruled over the Goths. 
Historians have frequently confused the two dynasties. 
Saxo Grammaticus mentions several of these Kings as 
Swedish Kings. In the laws of the West Goths is a 
catalogue of the Kings of West Gothland beginning, 
however, at a later date. 

A New Dynasty.— By the death of Ingjald Illrada 
the dynasty of the Ynglings became extinct, as had 
been prophesied long before. Ivar Vidfamne brought 
all Sweden under his sway. He also became master of 
Denmark, and a great portion of Saxland, and part of 
England. A new line of Kings began to rule in Sweden 


and Denmark. In Sweden it was called the Ivar Dyn- 

Ivar Vidfamne had a daughter called Auda, who 

was first married to Korek. They had a son named 
Harald, and because he became a great warrior he was 
called Hildetand (War-tooth). He ruled over Denmark 
and was the ancestor of the Danish Kings. 

Auda was married secondly to Kadbert. By him 
she had a son called Eandver, and Eandver had a son 
called Sigurd King who became King of the Swedes 
and West Goths. 

King Harald Hildetand. — Harald HiMetand was 
but fifteen years old when at Lejre he became King over 
Denmark, and on this account many of the chiefs who 
had been formerly independent believed that they 
would regain the provinces or petty kingdoms which 
they had lost by the ursupation of Ingjald Illrada and 
Ivar Vidfamne. Harald had several petty wars on 
his hands. He subdued all the rebel chiefs. He was 
supposed to bear a charmed life. His manner of plac- 
ing his army in a triangular position, called swinfylke, 
was claimed to be a direct instruction from Odin. 
Harald promised all those who fell in battle a sacrifice 
to Valhalla. From his many victories during youth 
he became a terror to all his foes, and was thereafter 
permitted to reign in peace for about fifty years. He, 
however, kept his army constantly on a war footing, 
which in his opinion was the best guarantee for peace. 

According to tradition Harald is said to have 
reached the age of one hundred and fifty years at the 
time Sigurd Eing was ruling over the Swedes at 
Upsala, and also over the West Goths. Either at the 
instigation of his general Brune and other followers, 


or in accordance with the prevailing belief that to die 
of old age would prevent him from going to Valhalla, 
he declared war against Sigurd Eing of Sweden. 
Preparations were made on a large scale. Harald with 
his army invaded Sweden. Eing's army was collected 
from Svithiod, West Gothland and Norway, led by 
himself in person, and by many renowned warriors, 
such as Eagwald the Wise, and Starkoder, who was 
considered the greatest warrior of the times. Harald's 
army was gathered from Denmark, East Gothland 
and the North of Germany. His fleet was so great that 
it covered the Sound. There were three Amazons, 
Ursina, the banner bearer, Heide and Veborg,and many 
renowned Berserkers and warriors. The armies met 
on Bravalla Heath in East Gothland. Harald sent his 
general Brune to reconnoitre and report the position of 
the army of King Eing, and when he returned and in- 
formed Harald that Eing's troops stood in swinfylkes 
Harald exclaimed: "Who has taught him that? I 
thought this information was known to none but Odin 
and myself. I fear for the outcome, but I am ready to 
fall in battle." He directed Brune to marshal his 
troops, and being unable to walk from old age was, 
placed in a war chariot. 

The Battle of Bravalla. About A. D. 740— When 
all was ready, the chiefs caused the war horns to be 
sounded; on which the two armies uttered a great 
shout, and so advanced on one another. A sharp and 
memorable conflict now followed, and the old Sagas 
relate that nowhere in the North have so many picked 
men striven together. When' the battle had raged 
awhile, Ubbe, the Frieslander, advanced in front of 
King Harald's troops towards the enemy; in the front 


of King Eing's tribes advanced Ragwald the Wise in 
Council, and Ubbe turned to confront him. Then be- 
tween these two stout-handed men a hard battle took 
place, in which many desperate blows were dealt and 
returned ; but it ended by the death of Ragwald. Then 
Ubbe cut down the champion Tryggve, who stood next 
to Eagwald. When Adils' sons from Upsala saw this, 
they both turned upon him; but such a redoubtable 
warrior was he, that he slew them both, and the third 
Yngve in addition. When King Ring saw this, he 
, shouted that it was a shame to let a single man so exalt 
himself over a whole army, and, "Where was Starkoder 
now, who had never feared before to step foremost in 
the strife?" Starkoder answered: "This is a hard 
trial, and victory will be difficult for us now, my lord. 
Notwithstanding I will not fall back." Saying this he 
advanced towards Ubbe, and they exchanged many 
mighty blows. Finally Starkoder gave Ubbe a very 
terrible wound, but he had already received six him- 
self, so that he thought he had never before been in 
such a terrible strait. Now the troops pressed upon 
them on both sides, and separated these two champions. 
Ubbe cut down another warrior, called Agnar, and 
then seizing his sword with both hands, cut a broad 
path through Ring's troops, until he was covered with 
blood up to the shoulders. Behind Ring's army stood 
the inhabitants of the Telemark in Norway, whose 
chief art was using the bow and arrow, but as the rest 
of the army held them in small esteem, they had been 
placed in the rear. When they perceived Ubbe ad- 
vancing through the army towards them, they said 
among themselves, "Now is the time to show that we 
are also brave men, and not so weak as the others 


esteem us to be, and we shall make this man the target 
for our arrows awhile." Hadder Horde and Horallder 
amongst them were such good marksmen that they 
shot Ubbe through with four-and-twenty arrows- But 
he never lost courage, and defended himself valiantly 
till he fell dead. He had overthrown six warriors and 
sixteen other men, besides having grievously wounded 
eleven others of note. 

Veborg, the Amazon, now advanced against the 
Swedes and slew the champion Sote.. After this she 
met Starkoder, and they fought; but she was so ac- 
tive and supple that she dealt him a blow which sliced 
the flesh ofE his cheek and chin. Torkil Djerfve came 
up at the same moment and hewed her down; but Star- 
koder put his beard in his mouth, and held it with his 
teeth, thus retaining the loose piece of flesh in place, 
and he was now very wroth. He burst suddenly into 
the Danish force and cut down the warriors Hake, Ella, 
Borgar, and Hjorter, one after the other, and then 
rushed towards Ursina, the Amazon, who bore King 
Uarald's banner. She then said: "Certes, the rage of 
death has now come upon you, and your last hour is 
surely at hand." "First, thou shalt drop the King's 
banner," said Starkoder; and with these words he cut 
off her left hand. At the same moment, Brae, the war- 
rior, seized it; but Starkoder cut him down, and the 
other two, Grepe the Old, and Hate; but he received 
himself many grevious and sore wounds. When Har- 
ald saw the great slaughter amongst his troops, he 
threw himself on his knees in his chariot, being unable 
to stand, and took a short sword in each hand; he then 
caused the chariot to be driven into the thickest of the 
fight, hewing and striking on both sides, in this man- 


ner killing many, and he was considered very valiant, 
and to have done mighty deeds for his great age. 
Finally his own general, Brune, struck him with an axe 
on the helmet, so that his head was cleft, and he fell 
dead out of the chariot. When King Ring saw the 
chariot empty, he understood that King Harald was 
slain; he therefore caused a cessation of arms to be 
blown on the trumpets, and offered the Danish army 
peace and quarter which they accepted. The next morn- 
ing Ring caused the field of battle to be carefully 
searched for King Harald's corpse, which was not 
found until the middle of the day, under a heap of slain. 
Ring caused it to be taken up, washed and honorably 
treated according to the custom of those times, and 
laid it in Harald's chariot. A great mound was then 
raised, and the horse,which had drawn Harald through 
the battle, was harnessed to the car, and so the royal 
corpse was drawn into the mound. There the horse 
was killed, and King Ring caused his own saddle to 
be brought in, and gave it to his friend King Harald, 
praying him to use it in riding to dwell with Odin in 
Valhalla. After this, he caused a great funeral feast 
to be celebrated, and at its conclusion begged all the 
warriors and chief men who were present to honor Har- 
ald by gifts and ornaments. Many precious things 
were thrown in,, large bracelets, and excellent arms, 
after which the mound was carefully closed and pre- 
served. And King Ring remained sole governor over 
the entire kingdoms of Sweden and Norway. 

Sigurd Ring's Death.— King Ring had gone down to 
Viken, the gulf between Sweden and Norway, to settle 
some disputes between his tributary Kings, on which 
occasion a great sacrifice was offered, which was num- 

Early viking period. ?3 

erously attended, amongst others by King Alf's 
daughter from Jutland, a Princess who for her great 
beauty was called Alfsol, or Sun. Notwithstanding 
his great age, Sigurd King fell in love with her, and 
asked her to be^ his wife, though the gods had pro- 
nounced against it at a sacrifice. But Alfsol's broth- 
ers, Alf and Inge, refused "to give so fair a maid to 
such a withered old man." Eing was very angry that 
his own subjects had ventured to give him such an 
answer, and therefore declared war on them after the 
conclusion of the saTcriflce. Alf and Inge were brave 
men, but still they feared King Eing's superior might 
and therefore gave Alfsol poison that she might not 
fall into his hands. They then advanced against the 
King, but the fortune of the day soon turned against 
them. Alf was cut down by Kagnar, who was now 
with his father, and in consequence received the name 
of Alfsbane. Inge fell also, and their troops fled. Sig- 
urd Eing, who had himself been severely wounded in 
the battle, ordered Alfsol to be sought for, and when 
he only found her corpse, he determined to live no 
longer. He therefoie commanded that all the dead 
bodies be carried into a ship, seated himself by the rud- 
der in the stern, and laid Alfsol at his side. He after- 
Avards caused the ship to be set on fire with sulphui* 
and pitch, hoisted all the sails, and steered with a 
steady wind out to sea, saying "That he would come 
with magnificence, as befitted a mighty King, to Odin." 
When he got away from the shore, he ran his sword 
through his body, and so fell dead over the corpse of 
his beloved Alfsol. The ship drove out to sea and 
perished there, but Eagnar caused his men to raise a 
great mound on the" shore. 




Sigurd Ring's Death — Ragnar Lodbrok King of the Swedes and Goths — 
Tora and the Snake Around Her Bower — Ragnar Kills the Snake 
and Tora becomes His Bride — Ragnar's Viking Expeditions to Eng- 
land and France — Manner of His Death — English and French His- 
torians on the Vikings — Swedish Vikings — The Varangians were 
Swedish Vikings in Russia — Rulers — Russian Laws — Russian His- 
torians Credit Foundation of Their Empire to Swedes — Their Manner 
of Fighting — The Ros — Varangians at Constantinople — ^Ambassadors 
to Louis of- France — Detected as Swedes and Detained — Intermar- 
riage between Royal Houses of Sweden and Russia — Sudden Appear- 
ance of the Swedes all Over Europe — Their Expeditions — Superiority 
— Tribut(3 from Russians — Elect Swedish Princes as Rulers — ^Nestor's 
Account — Rurie in Russia — Varangians in Russia — Hungary and 
Constantinople — Their Route — Emperor's Body Guard — Numbers — 
Superiority — Svealand and Gotaland Very Populous — ^Gardar Svav- 
arson Discovers Iceland — Runestones — Monument to Vikings — Mar- 
shals of Troops in Greece. 

The sagas relate that after the famous Sigurd 
Eing's death, Ragnar became King of the Swedes and 
Goths. He is said to have received his name Lodbrok, 
meaning "thewoolly,'' under the following circumstan- 
ces. There was a Gothic King in Sweden, who had a 
daughter, named Tora, celebrated for her beauty and 
accomplishments. Her father returning from a bear 
hunt brought home a snake in a box which he gave 
to his daughter for a plaything. The snake soon grew 
to an enormous size. Its length was such that it 


reached all around the house where the maiden was. 
The snake devoured an ox each day and poisoned the 
air with its venom. The King offered his daughter in 
marriage to anyone who could kill it. Many a young 
warrior tried, but was killed in the attempt. Ragnar 
heard of the offer and prepared to win the prize. He 
had a robe made of heavy undressed bear skins; this 
he had boiled in pitch, drawn through sand and finally 
hardened in the sun; and when he put it on, he was 
proof against the snake's venom. He then killed the 
snake and gained Tora's hand. Hence he was always 
known thereafter as Lodbrok. 

It is this Eagnar and his sons, who became re- 
nowned as the most daring of Vikings throughout the 
British Isles and on the coast of France. Eagnar Lod- 
brok at the head of his Vikings visited Paris in A. D. 
845. In his attempt to subdue England he was sur- 
rounded and overpowered, and cast into a dungeon full 
of venomous snakes. His death song is one of the 
most striking pieces of Scandinavian poetry. In this 
last hour the Sea King looks forward with pleasure 
to his immortal feast with Odin in Valhalla. To avenge 
his death his sons inflicted terrible retribution on the 
English people. This is said to have occurred A. D. 

The English and French historians in describing 
the Vikings, have usually spoken of them as Norwe- 
gians or Danes. As these countries are located nearer 
to England and France than Sweden, it is natural that 
the invaders should be so classified. Yet the Swedish 
sagas and chronicles extol many a Swedish Sea King, 
who sailed to England, France, Spain, Italy, Greece 
and Turkland, (Constantinople), 


The Swedish vikings pushed their expeditions "'.n 
Ostervag" as they called it, or Eastwards, and during 
the Eighth and Ninth centuries helped to make Kus- 
sian history. 

The \ aiangians who ruled over the Russians were 
Swedes and of Swedish descent, and it was they who 
imposed the name of Russia on the Slav countries. In 
support of this contention the large number of Scandi- 
navian names in the list of Varangian princes reign- 
ing in Russia may be adduced. The first code of Rus- 
sian laws compiled by Jaroslaf presents a striking an- 
alogy with the Swedish laws. The Russian historians 
call Sweden the mother country of the Russians, and 
point particularly to a part ,of the Swedish coast called 
Roslagen, between Stockholm and Upsala. The Var- 
angians were dften a band of warriors composed of ex- 
iled Swedish adventurers, who usually were the lead- 
ers, with a following of Slav soldiers. The Swedes 
and Russians from the earliest times were bound to- 
gether by close commercial relations. . These Varang- 
ians from Sweden were not inferior to those Sea Kings 
who were so celebrated in the West during the decay 
of the Carlovingians. M. Samokvassof has lately 
opened the black tomb near Tohernigof containing the 
bones of a Varangian prince who lived in the 10th 
century. His coat of mail and pointed helmet in every 
respect resembles those of the Swedish warriors. Ear- 
ly miniatures represent the Russian princes during the 
8th to the 10th centuries as clothed and armed like 
the Swedish warriors. 

The Varangians, like the Swedes and Norsemen, as- 
tonished the nations of the East and South by their 
reckless courage and gigantic stature. Bold sailors 


and admirable foot soldiers, the Swedish Varangians 
differed from the mounted and nomad races of Russia, 
the Hungarians, Khazars etc., whose tactics were 
Parthian. The former fought in a compact mass and 
seemed like a wall of iron, bristling with lances and 
glittering with shields, whence rang a ceaseless clamor 
like the waves of the sea. A huge shield covered them 
to their feet, and when they fought in retreat they 
turned their enormous bucklers around on their backs 
and became invulnerable. The fury of battle at last 
made them besides themselves, like the Berserkers. 
Ts'ever were they seen to surrender. When the hope of 
victory was lost they stabbed themselves, for they held 
that those who died in battle would go to the gods in 

The name of Ros (Russia) was first made known 
to the West in the 9th century, by an embassy of 
Theophilus, the Roman emperor of the East, to the 
emperor of the West, Lewis the son of Charlemagne. 
The Greeks were accompanied by the envoys of the 
great duke, or Chagon,Hakon, or Czar of the Russians. 
In their journey to Constantinople they had traversed 
the territory of many hostile nations, and they hoped 
to escape the dangers of their return by requesting 
the French monarch to transport them by sea to their 
r.ative country. But a close examination detected 
their origin; they were the brethren of the Swedes and 
Norsemen, whose names were already a source of hat- 
red and fear in France from the many incursions and 
ravages of the Vikings during the present and prior 
reigns; and it might justly be apprehended that these 
Swedes under the name of Russian strangers were not 
messengers of peace, but emissaries of war. They were 


detained, while the ambassadors from the Greek em- 
peror were dismissed. This Swedish origin of the peo- 
ple or at least of the Princes of liussia is abundantly 
confirmed by the Russian and Swedish annals and by 
the general histories of the two countries, the inter- 
marriage of the royal houses and the constant aad 
friendly intercourse of the people. 

The Swedes, who had so long been concealed by a 
veil of darkness from the Western World, suddenly 
burst into notice by their na^al and military enter- 
prises. The vast and populous region of the Swedish 
peninsula was crowded by independent chieftains and 
desperate adventurers, who after the country had been 
united under the King of Svithiod, sighed amid the 
pleasures of peace, and smiled in the agonies of death. 
Wars and adventures were the exercise, the .trade, the 
glory and the virtue of the Swedish and Gothic youth. 
Impatient of a home with narrow limits, they started 
from the banquet, grasped their arms, sounded their 
horns, ascended their vessels and explored every coast 
that promised either spoil or settlement. The Baltic 
was the early scene of their naval achievements; they 
visited all parts of Russia in their viking ships, pene- 
trating inland either by river or on horseback, as oc- 
casion served. The natives saluted them with the title 
of Varangians. Their superiority in arms, discipline, 
and renown, commanded the fear and reverence of the 
natives. They alternately made war upon the natives 
and acted as their protectors against foes. 

As early as A. D. 859 the Varangians exacted trib- 
ute from the Slavs of the Russian provinces. - The 
natives had once expelled the Varangians, but, as an- 
archy began to prevail again, they decided that they 


needed a strong centralized government and recalled 
til em in 862. Whether Eussia's origin is to be sought 
in Sweden or elsewhere, it is with the arrival of these 
Swedish Varangians that Russian history commences. 
It was the 1000th anniversary of this event that was 
commemorated at Novgorod in 1862. With the advent 
of the Varangians the Russian name became famous 
in Eastern Europe. It was the heroic age of the Rus- 
sian nation. 

The Russian historian, Nestor, who lived at Kief 
during the twelfth century, and whose history extends 
to 1116, adds to his conscientious accounts many le- 
gendary traits which seem an echo of the Scandinavian 

The Slavs of Russia, he says, sent to Sweden for a 
Prince to rule over them. Ruric and two brothers with 
companions in arms settled in Novgorod; from them 
the land took the name of Russia and the inhabitants 
of Novgorod are still of Varangian descent These 
events appear to have taken place in A. D. 862. The 
occupants of the Muscovite throne down to 1598 were 
descended from Ruric, the Swede. 

The Russian Varangians are the Varangians of the 
Byzantines, the Swedish Varingers. They were mer- 
cenaries (soldiers who served by agreement or bargain), 
and their name is synonymous with foederati, as the 
Gothic soldiers were called under Constantine the, 


After the downfall of the Gothic empires in Italy, 
France and Spain, the Swedes continued to cross the 
Baltic as Varangians and sailed up the River Vistula, 
crossing the uplands of the territory now known as 
Galicia and the borders of Russia and Hungary, and 


then proceeded by way of the Dnieper and Pruth and 
across the Black Sea to Constantinople. This route 
had been known for centuries to the Swedes and Goths 
in their viking expeditions. Nestor says that this 
route had been long in use by the Swedish Varangians. 
This same itinerary is mentioned by a Greek Emperor 
in the tenth, and by the first historian of Northern 
Christianity in the eleventh century. Both this way 
down the Dnieper to the Black Sea and another more 
to the Eastward by the Volga to the Caspian Sea were 
continually traversed by the Swedes after the foun- 
dation of the Kussian monarchy, for the purposes of 
war and commerce. The many Kunic stones erected in 
Sweden in memory of travelers to Greece and Constan- 
tinople are proofs positive of the close relations between 
these countries. A large number of Arabic coins have 
been found on Swedish soil, dating from the 9th and 
10th centuries. 

The Sea-kings of the Ros threatened Constantinople 
on several occasions and one treaty was concluded be- 
tween the Emperors, where all the names are Scan- 
dinavian. They frequently made war on the Arabs 
bordering on the Caspian Sea, as related by Arabic 

The Greeks had for long highly esteemed these he- 
roes (worthy of the Edda). Under the name of Ros, the 
Swedish apd Gothic Varangians formed the body- 
guard of the Emperor and figured in all the Byzantine 

In the expedition of A. D. 902 against Crete, 700 
Varangians took part; 415 in that of Lombardy in A. 
D. 925; 584 in that, of Greece in, A. D. 949; and they 
were always near to the Lmperors' persons. 


They readily took pay from foreign nations, from-, 
Novgorod as well as from Byzantium. Sometimes, in- 
stead of fighting for others, they made war on their 
own account. As the Danes did in England and 
France, so did the Swedish Vikings in Kussia and By- 
zantium. Being usually a very small number they' 
blended rapidly with the conquered nation. Their 
mingling with the indigenous races explains the rap- 
idity with which they were absorbed and lost their 
language, customs and religion. The Varangians re- 
tained only one thing— their military^ superiority and 
the habit of obeying the chosen or hereditary chief. 
The anarchistic Slavs were inoculated with this prin- 
ciple and gradually became lOyal to their superiors. 

The Swedes were generally classed among the 
Northmen during the Viking period by the* Western 
historians. The Swedish peninsula — that is Svealand 
and Gotaland — had always been the most populous, 
and being surrounded by water the Swedes sailed 
Westward as well as Eastward. The Norwegians and 
the Danes who have written on these subjects have 
taken the credit to themselves for all that was accom- 
plished by the viking expeditions, which is more than 
they are entitled to. It was a Swede by birth, Gar- 
dar Svavarson, who sailed Westward and landed on the 
island in the Atlantic, now called Iceland, about the 
year 868. He was the first Northman who visited Ice- 
land and stayed over winter, and the island was for 
some time called after him Gardarsholm. On his return 
to Sweden the report spread rapidly that. a new coun- 
try existed in the West. When Harald Harfager was 
making war against the petty kings of Norway, sub- 


duing some of them and driving out others, many, soon- 
er than be subjugated, emigrated to the newiy discov- 
ered country. Many Swedish and Gothic names are 
found in the annals of the early settlers of Iceland. 

Rune-Stones. — There are numerous monuments in 
Sweden, such as bautastones and other mementoes in- 
scribed with runes, which bear witness that the Swedes 
and Goths constantly went on Tiking and commercial 
expeditions to the Eastern and Southern cities of Rus- 
sia, to Byzantium, to Greece, to Home and the West- 
ern coast of Europe. 

Many of these stones are erected in memory of men 
who sailed to Ostervag, that is to Russia and Austria. 
Others mention the places by name, as Finland, Ta- 
vastaland, Estland, Livonia, Gardame, Gardarike and 
Holmgard. One Rune-stone in Sodermanland is "erect- 
ed by Sigrid in memory of her husband Sven, who often 
sailed with large and valuable ships to LemguUen 
around Tunisness." Another Rune-stone in the same 
province is "erected to the memory of a, man who fell 
in battle in Gardarike (Byzantine Empire) as com- 
mander-in-chief of the army." Several of these stones 
are erected in memory of men who accompanied Ing- 
var on his journey to the Eastern countries. One stone 
is "erected by two brothers in memory of their father, 
who commanded ships in company with Ingvar to the 
countries Eastward and to Esthonia." 

One stone (the illustration on page 85) was erect 
ed by the mother of Ravald, Ingvar's brother, which 
indicates that Ingvar sailed from Malaren. This ia 
doubtless the same person who is described in an Ice- 
landic saga, containing the romance of Ingvar, the 
far traveler, who is said to have lived during the time 


of Olaf Lapking. In this case the date of this Kune- 
stone would be approximately 1000 A. D. 

A number of these Kune-stones are erected in Mem- 
ory of Vikings who journeyed to Greece, and also give 
an account of their death in that country. Others com- 
memorate men who spent some time in Greece and then 
returned. They go by the name of Greek travelers. In 
the parish of Eds in the Province of Upland is a stone 
upon which Ragnald caused Eunes to be cut as a memo- 
rial of himself. He had at one time been chief of the 
army in Grekland, that is chief of the Varangians, 
who were acting as the body-guard of the Roman Em- 
peror. . At a place called Fukeby, not far from Upsala, 
stands a Rune-stone, whicli a father raised in memory 
of his sons, one of whom was a chief and commanded 
the army in Greece, but returned and died at home. 
These Rune-stones giving descriptions of journeys to 
the Eastern Roman Empire are found not only on the 
coasts of Sweden in Upland, Sodermanland and East 
Gothland, but at places inland and along the Western 
coasts. In Smaland is found a Rune-stone de- 
scribing a certain Sven, who died in the East in Grek- 
land. That the Swedes and Goths continued to go on 
viking expeditions both Eastward and Westward may 
be proved by the fact that in the old laws of the West 
Goths it is provided that "persons who dwell in Greece 
or in Rome cannot inherit the property of their de 
ceased relatives in the province of W^est Gothland.' 
After Christiaiiity had been adopted as the national re 
ligion of Sweden the Swedes were in the habit of mak 
ing pilgrimages to Jerusalem and they generally fol 
lowed the same road as formerly, going by Constanti 
nople, as the Varangians had done during the pagan 




times. In Eustasagan it is related tliat these pilgrims 
to Jerusalem first crossed over Gothland, then went 
Eastward to Russia, where they turned South till they 
reached Constantinople, from which place they pro- 
ceeded directly to their goal. 

There are also Rune-stones which mention certain 
men who died in the Langbarderland, that is the pres- 
ent Lombardy in Italy. One of these stones is found 
in the parish of Tave in the Province of Upland and 
another is found in the Parish of Mound, in the Prov- 
ince of Sodermanland. 


1. Tula erected this stone in memory of her son 
Havald, the brother of Ingvar. They journeyed brave- 
ly into distant lands to Kul and still further East and 
South. They died in Kafa, in the South of Sarkland 
(among the Saracens). 



2. Eagvald, who was chief of the army in Grek- 
land (Constantinople), caused these runes to be in- 
scribed on this stone. 

There are over 1,500 runestones in different parts 
of Sweden, some of which are very large and covered 
with runes of great historical interest. 





Golden Age of the Norse Religion is Passed — Cruelty of the Vikings- 
Change in Sentiment — Harald Harfager's "Profession — Longing After 
a Better Religion — ^Influenee of Catholicism — Ansgar Preaching in 
Sweden A. D. 830 — Bjorn King (829) — Alsharjarting decides for 
Christianity in Sweden — Rimbert Bishop — Eric Conquers Trans- 
Baltic Provinces — Conflict with Harald Harfagier — Gorm King of 
Denmark a Pagan — Danevirke — Tyra — Crusade against Denmark by 
Germany — Jorosburg — Styrbjorn Attacks Denmark — War on Eric 
Victorious in Sweden — Battle of Fyrisvall 983 — Eric Conquers the 
Danes — Harald Returns to Denmark — Order of Battle — Sacrifices — 
-Erie Victorious — Descendants of Styrbjorn — Erie Invades Denmark 
— Death — Olaf King of Sweden — Sigrid Storrada — ^Marries Sven of 
Denmark — Norway in History — Petty Kings — Royal Dynasty of 
Norway — Harald — Eric Blood Axe — Hakon the Good — Harald Gra- 
fall— Jarl Hakon — Olaf Trygvesson as Viking and Christian — At- 
tacked by Svceden and Denmark at Svolder — Olaf Trygvesson's 

The Early Introduction of Christianity in Sweden. 
— At the period of the viking expeditions to Russia, 
Constantinople and Southern Europe, the old Norse re- 
ligion and civilization had already seen their golden ago 
and showed many signs of decay and dissolution. Thef 
predatory and daring spirit of the Vikings brought with' 
it a great deal of cruelty and inhumanity; the former 
honesty and integrity of the Norsemen disappeared and 
the Sagas relate many traits of deceit and infidelity; 
the old Asa-faith had become superannuated and grad- 


ually lost all influence over the minds of the people. 
There were many Vikings who despised the gods and 
had faith only in their own power and influence; how- 
ever, there were also many who were influenced by 
higher and nobler sentiments, and who were impelled 
by an aspiration after something spiritual and divine. 
It is related of King Harald Harfager for instance that 
he acknowledged only one God in Heaven, the God who 
had created the World,the Sun,the Moon and the Stars. 
Although the proud and unbending spirit of the Norse- 
men did not well agree with the self-denying spirit of 
Christianity, there was nevertheless in the doctrines of 
the old Norse religion something which corresponded 
to the Christian religion. Such in particular were the 
reverence paid to Balder, the pure and good, the cus- 
tom of pouring water on a new born child, which cor- 
responded closely to Christian baptism, and many other 
old customs. What particularly interested them in the 
Christian religion was the outward pomp and glory of 
the Catholic rite. The images, the priestly attire, and 
the robes of the choristers, the incense and the music, 
— all these made a great impression on the minds of 
these men of the North, who were keenly appreciative 
of elaborate ceremonial. The Norse Mythology and 
the numerous heathen gods as worshiped at Upsala 
were replaced by the Catholic doctrines and the saints. 
It is related that many of the newly converted pagan 
Swedes and Goths who embraced Christianity kept 
their old gods side by side with the images of the 
Christian saints; nor is there any doubt that a large 
number of the people who were converted to Christian- 
ity were converted to outward appearance only. Chris- 
tianity and the new faith had not penetrated their 


minds and hearts, and therefore the gospel had little 
influence on the lives of the converts. 

The old sagas relate that the Danish King Harald 
while on a visit to Germany was baptized and embraced 
Christianity A. D. 826. A pious monk, Ansgar, who 
became the apostle of the North, accompanied him on 
his return to Denmark. Ansgar was then a young 
monk at the convent of New Corvey in Westphalia. 
He was well known for his piety and learning and pos- 
sessed an earnest Christian faith. For several years 
he continued with great success to preach Christianity 
in the Southern Provinces of Sweden and Denmark. 
The Upland Swedes, about this time, sent messengers 
to Emperor Louis the Pious, to say that they were will- 
ing to receive Christian teacher-s. Louis commissioned 
Ansgar to visit Sweden. After a journey full of dan- 
gers and sacrifices, he arrived about the year A. D. 
830 at Birka, which was then the most prominent city 
of the Swedes and was located on an island in Malaren. 
King Bjorn was ruling over the Swedes at this time. 
He received Ansgar in a friendly manner and allowed 
him to preach the Christian doctrines to his people. 
Ansgar continued his labors with great success for a 
year and a half, after which he returned to the Em- 
peror Louis. He was now appointed Archbishop of 
the newly established diocese of Hamburg, with in- 
structions to contintie to preach the Gospel to the peo- 
ple of the North. Hamburg was shortly thereafter 
attacked by the Vikings and burned to the ground. 
Ansgar moved to Bremen, which became the seat of 
the diocese, and the residence of the Archbishop. 
About the year 853 he undertook a second journey to 


Sweden. During his absence the missionaries in their 
zeal had destroyed some heathen temples and sacred 
groves, which so enraged the people, who still clung to 
their old gods, that a riot followed during which many 
native Christians, and the priests sent by Ansgar to 
Sweden, were expelled from the country. When he 
now arrived at Birka, he met with violent opposition, 
but by his piety and gentle manner, he soon succeeded 
in persuading the King and the people to bring the 
question: "Shall the Swedes adopt the Christian re- 
ligion?" before the public at the Alsharjar Ting, King 
Olaf being now the Swedish Sovereign. The question 
whether Christianity might be preached in Sweden was 
decided in the affirmative. At a Ting in West Goth- 
land the people also decided in favor of Christianity. 
Ansgar, having reorganized the Christian church at 
Birka, and placed priests and missionaries at other 
stations in the country, returned to Bremen where he 
died in the year 865. During his whole life he had 
not ceased working most assiduously for the conver- 
sion of the Northern people. Many young men from 
the North, who were studying at the Universities of 
Paris and Eome, embraced the Christian religion, were 
baptised and returned home as preachers and in- 
structors of their own people. The' policy of Ansgar 
was. pursued by his friend and successor, Bishop Kim- 
bert, who also visited Sweden. But- after his time the 
missionary work in Sweden was neglected for some 
seventy years, and viking expeditions were conducted 
with even more violence and savagery than formerly. 
Toward the latter part of the 9th century King Eric 
Edmundson, who was later succeeded by his son, Bjorn 


Ericson, was ruling in Sweden. Eric was a powerful 
King and a great warrior. He led his army into the 
provinces East of the Baltic, conquered several of them 
and united them to Sweden ; but when he undertook to 
extend his monarchy Westward and to subdue Norway, 
and other adjoining provinces, he came in conflict with 
the Norwegian King, Harald Harfager, who also laid 
claim to the same territory. The dispute between the 
two Kings came to a serious issue when they were visit- 
ing the Bonde, Ake, in Vermland. Hostilities broke 
out between them which terminated in Harald's taking 
away from Eric the provinces in dispute. However, 
it was not long before Vermland and Markerna were 
re-conquered and came into the posession of Sweden. 
Eavafylke became a province of Norway. Eric Ed- 
mundson died about A. D. 886. 

Henry of Germany, about the year 934, declared 
war upon and undertook a crusade against Denmark, 
which was then ruled over by King Gorm the old, who 
still adhered to Paganism. Gorm was an enthusiastic 
heathen and persecutor of the Christians. This war 
was the primai'v cause of the building of Danevirke, a 
fortified wall separating Denmark from Germany, 
which extended in a Western direction from the in- 
nermost point of the Gulf of Schlei to the river Treene; 
this wall, which was taken in hand by the enthusiastic 
Queen Tyra, continued to afford protection to the 
Danes for some time during the rule of Harald Blue 

The German crusades against Denmark had a great 
influence on the inhabitants, many of whom became 
converted to Christianity. King Harald was finally 


baptized, and ever after exerted a good Christian influ- 
ence over his people. 

It vs^as at this time that several o£ the most dar- 
ing of the Northern Vikings took possession of a tract 
of land near the mouth of the Oder where they found- 
ed a fortified place called Jomsburg. This fortifica- 
tion was located on the Island Wollin within the prov- 
ince of the Vendes. At this spot the most daring of 
the warriors and other adventurers who clung to the 
old heathen religion collected together and formed a 
community called Jomsvikings, composed only of war- 
riors, and adopted the most stringent laws for their 
government. Styrbjorn Starke, celebrated in sagas, 
became chief of this band. This renowned Viking was 
a nephew of the powerful King of Sweden, Eric the 
Victorious, who ruled for over fifty years and died in 
993. Styrbjorn at the age of twelve years had in- 
sisted upon sharing in the government of the kingdom, 
but the people rejected him. His uncle, however, 
equipped a considerable fleet for him to be used in vik- 
ing ex:peditions. He it was who finally became the lead- 
der of the Jomsvikings. He made an expedition to 
Denmark and compelled Harald Blue Tooth to give 
him his daughter in marriage and to assist him with 
troops against his uncle Eric the Victorious of Swed- 
en, from whom he now demanded a share in the king- 
dom, and proceeded to enforce the claim by equipping 
a great fleet with wliich he sailed up the Baltic and into 
lake Malaren. 

The Battle of Fyrisvall, A. D. 983.— Eric the Vic- 
torious, who at this time was reigning in Upsala, was 
a great and renowned King. Skoglar Toste, a free- 


holder and celebrated Viking in West Gothland, had 
a daughter named Sigrid, much famed for her beauty, 
but very proud and haughty. King Eric chose her for 
his Queen, and gained much support in the country 
from hei relations, particularly from Torgny the Wise, 
who was Judge in Upland. When King Eric heard 
that Styrbjorn with his great fleet had entered Lake 
Malaren he sent out a summons throughout the king- 
dom for all the men at arms to meet in Upsala, He 
then blocked the entrance of Flot Sound so that Styr- 
bjorn could not sail out of the Lake toward Upsala. 
As soon as the latter had arrived, he made his men go 
on shore and burned all his ships, to the end that his 
supporters might fight with more courage, having no 
hopes of safety by flight. Scarcely was this done when 
Harald Bluetooth ordered his men on board his ships, 
put out to sea and sailed home to Denmark, leaving 
Styrbjorn in the trap. This proceeding he and his men 
were obliged to witness from the shore, having no 
means of preventing or punishing Harald's treachery. 
He, however, did not lose courage, but made his men 
cut a broad road through the forest to the great plain 
of Fyrisvall, near Upsala. On this plain he marshaled 
his army, having many brave chiefs in it, amongst 
others his uncle, Jar] Ulf, and Bjom Bredviking, an 
Icelander. Eric the Victorious marshaled his men on 
the other side and Torgny the Judge was his chief man, 
both in word and deed. The battle was violent and 
long. Torgny had caused chariots to be made with 
lances projecting in front and sickles and scythes fast- 
ened on either side, which were drawn by condemned 
criminals into the enemies' ranks, and caused great 
^lavOc; but Styrbjorn had such superior numbers, that 


in spite of this he was able to make a stout resistance; 
and so they fought the whole day without either being 
able to gain the victory. During the night many peo- 
ple from the neighborhood joined Eric, so that his army 
was not less than on the first day. But the Jomsvik- 
iugs were such brave men that they kept up the fight 
the whole of the second day, and at its conclusion no 
one could yet determine who would be victorious. The 
chiefs offered sacrifices during the night to propitiate 
the gods. Styrbjorn sacrificed to Thor, and it was 
said that a red-bearded man, who was thought to be 
Thor, showed himself to Styrbjorn announcing his 
defeat. Eric on his side, went up to the temple in 
Upsala and sacrificed to Odin, promising himself to 
the god at the expiration of ten years, if he would only 
this time grant him the victory. It is said that a one- 
eyed man in a blue cloak, with a wide hat on his head, 
then showed himself to Eric and gave him a lance 
which he should hurl against Styrbjorn's troops, say- 
ing, "Ye now all belong to Odin," and this man was 
thought to have been Odin himself. The third day a 
much severer conflict ensued, numerous reinforcements 
as before having joined King Eric from the neighbor- 
hood on the preceding night. But a universal panic 
presently overtook Styrbjorn's men; they fancied the 
air was full of light arrows hovering over their heads 
which blinded and confused them, and were thought 
to be sent by Odin. A sand-hill in the neighborhood 
also slid down upon them causing much confusion. 
When Styrbjorn at last saw that all was tending to 
his fall and defeat, in anguish and despair he struck 
his banner fast into the ground, and shouted with' a 

terrible Yoice to ttie remuemt of his troops, tU^t it was 


better to die with glory than to fly with shame. He 
then cast himself wildly amongst his enemy, and so 
fell, pierced with many wounds. The greater part of 
his men followed him and few fled or sutrendered 
themselves prisoners. When the battle was done King 
Eric mounted on one of the mounds and promised a 
great reward to him who could sing a Drapa on this 
battle. On this, Torwald Hjalteson, an Icelander, pre- 
sented himself and sung for 'the King and the army a 
glorious song of victory, and received as a reward two 
precious gold chains; and yet this Torwald neither 
before nor afterward ever concerned himself with 
poetry. After this Eric's son, who was only two years 
old, was carried before the troops and was proclaimed 
and received homage as his father's successor and 
sovereign of the whole kingdom. As he was, on ac- 
count of his tender age, on this occasion carried in 
arms, he was called Olaf Skotkonung, or Olaf Lapking. 

Styrbjorn left a son called Torkil Sprakalagg, 
whose son was named Ulf and was the father of Sven 
Ulfson, from whom a whole line of Danish Kings de- 
scend. This battle took place in the year 983 A. D. and 
from it King Eric received the surname, "The Victori- 

This was not the only victory which crowned King 
Eric's arms. He soon turned against Denmark and 
drove King Sven from his kingdom. The deposed King 
later made several viking expeditions to England. 
King Eric died in the meantime in the year 993 A. D. 
and was succeeded by his son Olaf. The Danish King 
Sven made a friendly alliance with Olaf of Sweden an4 


was restored to Ms kingdom, and married Sigrid, the 
mother of King Olaf . The Queen, who because of her 
pride was called Storrada, was sought by many in 
marriage after she became a widow. Two petty rulers 
who visited her for the purpose of seeking her hand, 
she caused to be burned alive. Finally she accepted 
the hand of the Norwegian King Olaf; but when he 
despised her because she was not willing to adopt 
Christianity, she made an oath that she would at last 
cause his death; and after she had married the Danish 
King Sven she formed an alliance between the Danish 
and Swedish Kings against the Norwegian Euler. But 
before we proceed to the struggle between these three 
monarchs we will first relate certain incidents pertain- 
ing to the history of Norway. 

Norway makes a later appearance in history than 
Sweden and Denmark and yet her history is more fully 
known than that of the two other kingdoms, for the 
Icelandic Sagas and historians devote more time to her, 
as being the country from which they originally emi- 
grated, than to Sweden and Denmark. 

Norway is divided up by many rivers and valleys, 
and on this account there was no place so centrally lo- 
cated as to become the natural capital, like the district 
around Lake Malaren in Sweden, and Zealand in Den- 
mark. However, it was not long before the Norwegian 
people united into a kingdom and expelled or destroyed 
the petty kings. In the middle of the 9th century a 
noble family, supposed to be descended from the Swed- 
ish ruling house of the Ynglings, had succeeded in 
obtaining greater power and influence in Norway than 
any other of the petty kings. Harald Harfager. the 


founder of the Norwegian dynasty, belonged to this 
family. It is said that this King had in his youth 
made a vow that he would not cut his hair or trim 
his beard until he had subdued all the petty kings and 
made of Norway a united kingdom. He first crossed 
the river Dover and subdued the Northern part of the 
country and thereupon he conquered the Western 
part; and when the chiefs of the Southern part united 
against him and met him in battle he utterly routed 
them in 872. Thus be became the Euler over the whole 
of Norway. He now clipped his hair and trimmed his 
beard, whence he received the surname, Harfager. In 
conquering these provinces Harald proceeded with a 
great deal of violence. He compelled the Odal men, 
bondes, who had formerly been free from taxes, to 
pay large revenues to the King. Many of them, in- 
dignant at his tyranny, forsook their country and emi- 
grated to foreign lands. Their land was confiscated 
to the crown. Harald placed over each province a 
Jarl, under whom were appointed officers to whom he 
donated land in return for which they were to supply 
the King with a certain number of soldiers. 

King Harald in his old days made a great mistake 
by dividing his kingdom among his many sons. How- 
ever, he appointed his favorite son, Eric, to be ruler 
over them all, who was a war-like prince and there- 
fore received the name of Blood Axe. The youngest 
of the brothers,Hakon,was brought up and educated at 
the court of King Athelstan in England and appeared 
to be a noble, knightly youth. At the age of fifteen 
years he went over to Sigurd Jarl, the friend of his 
father. The Jarl placed the young prince before the 
Bondes at the Ting. There were many who were dis- 


satisfied with King Eric; and when the young Hakon 
promised to remit his father's taxes and impositions 
he was elected King of Norway; King Eric fled from 
the country, collected a number of Vikings around him 
and went to England, where he finally fell in battle. 

King Hakon, who on account of his gentle disposi- 
tion, and just administration was called the Good, 
strengthened the defences of Norway, introduced a 
new order of things into the country and improved the 
administration of justice. He divided the coast into 
small divisions which should, in case of war, build and 
prepare a certain number of vessels and be ready every 
spring to accompany him to battle, whenever he sent 
his messengers around the country. The country he 
divided into three legislative and judicial districts. 

King Hakon who had been baptized in England, 
endeavored to introduce Christianity in Norway; but 
a large portion of the people refused to adopt the Chris- 
tian religion, rose in rebellion and burned several of 
the Christian churches, and compelled the King in per- 
son to take part in sacrifices to the old heathen gods. 

In the meantime the sons of Eric the Blood Axe, 
had made repeated attacks on Norway, and in one of 
these wars King Hakon was wounded and died about 
960. Harald Grafall, the eldest son of King Eric, was 
now elected King and was so acknowledged by most 
of the Norwegians, but he soon met with a dangerous 
competitor in Jarl Hakon. The latter met King Har- 
ald and murdered him, after which he ruled with great 
power and authority in the Northern part of Norway. 
He was an enthusiastic pagan, sacrificing continually 
to the gods and making. strenuous efforts to support 


and keep alive the old Asa faith, but on account of his 
despotic sway over the country the bondes became dis- 
satisfied, and rose in rebellion and elected as. King one 
of the descendants of Harald Harfarger, by name Olaf 
Trygvesson, who had just returned from a viking expe- 
dition to the South. Jarl Hakon was abandoned by all 
his friends and fled, and, Avhile endeavoring to escape 
from the country, was murdered by his slave about the 
year 995. 

Olaf Tryg-vesson, the new King of Norway, had when 
a mere child been rescued from the hands of his per- 
secutors and brought over to Sweden; thence he was 
sent to Russia where he Avas educated. He had made 
viking expeditions to England where he had been 
baptized and thereafter became an earnest Christian. 
He determined, if possible, to convert his countrymen 
to Christianity. Accompanied by several missionaries 
and teachers, he landed in Norway. As he traveled 
from village to village he gave the people their choice 
between being baptized or fighting. In this manner 
large sections of the population became Christians, at 
least in name. He also endeavored to introduce Chris- 
tianity into Sweden. He married his sister Ingeborg 
to Jarl Eagnald in West Gothland on the condition 
that he should become a Christian and be baptized 
and permit Christian preachers to preach the gospel 
in his domain. By his infiuenee, Christianity was also 
introduced into Iceland. 

It has already been mentioned that King Olaf of 
Norway offended the Danish Quefen Sigrid and that she 
had brought about an alliance between the Danish 
King Sven and King Olaf of Sweden. Eric and Sven, 
sons of Jarl Hakon, joined in this alliance also. All 


these allied powers prepared and equipped a large navy ' 
and were lying in wait for King Olaf Trygvesson when 
lie returned from an expedition he had made to the 
coast of Venden and Jomsborg. They attacked him 
with a superior force near the island Svolder, in the 
Baltic near Eugen, and a naval engagement was 
fought there which was widely renowned in the North. 
King Olaf of Norway defended himself with deter 
mined bravery on board his vessel Ormen Lange, "The 
Long Snake,"and not until the ship had been boarded 
and was in the hands of the enemy, did he yield; he 
then threw himself overboard into the sea and was 
never seen again. This occurred about the year 1000. 
Norway was divided up among the conquerors, the 
Danish and Swedish Kings reserving to themselves 
but a small portion of the country and the larger por- 
tion being left to the two Jarls, Eric and Sven, as de- 
pendent rulers. 




Peace After Battle of Svolder — Progress of Christianity in Denmark 
and Sweden — St. Sigfrid — Supremacy of Sweden — Olaf Lapking a 
Christian — ^Danish Influence in England — Canute the Great — Harald 
Grenske — Olaf the Saint of Norway — His Offer of Peace to Sweden 
and Torgny-Disa Ting at Upsala— King Olaf Lapking's Wrath^-Torg- 
ny's Speech — The King Yields — Olaf of Norway Marries Astrid — 
Ingegard Marries Jaroslav— West Goths Incensed at Their King— 
Anund Jacob Elected King — Canute the Great Begins War on Swed- 
en and Norway — Is Defeated — Stirs Up the Norwegians against Olai 
■—His Flight— Return— Battle of Stiklarstad— Olaf Killed— Change 
in Sentiments — Olaf Canonized as St. Olaf — Magnus Drives the Danes 
from Norway — Death of Canute — Hjs Dominions — His Sons Rule 
England — Norway's Increase in Prosperity — ^Anund's Peaceful Rule 
in Sweden — Edmund Sleme — Sweden Dominant in the North — Meet- 
ing of the Northern Kings — ^Adjustment of Boundaries — Death of 

After the battle at Svolder there was peace between 
the Northern kingdoms for fifteen years, during which 
time Christianity exerted a powerful influence over 
the people. King Sv'en during his wars in England 
had been converted to Christianity by English and Ger- 
man preachers. Large numbers of the Danes, also the 
people in the Southern parts of Sweden, had embraced 
Christianity and were baptized. The Northern provin- 
ces were the last to yield to the gospel. Missionaries 
and priests came over to Sweden from England, the 
most remarkable of whom was St. Sigfrid, who took up 


his abode in the central portion of Sweden in West 
Gothland. The people everywhere embraced Christi- 
anity and churches were built 

During the reign of Eric the victorious, Sweden had 
become the most powerful of the three Northern king- 
doms. His son Olaf Lapking was not progressive and 
ambitious like his father, but preferred remaining 
quietly at home and enjoying himself surrounded by 
poets, learned men and Christian preachers. The Gos- 
pel doctrine of peace he interpreted in a way that let 
the provinces East of the Baltic be plundered and torn 
from the Swedish crown. 

In the laws of the West Goths, which contain a list 
of the Swedish Kings, Olaf Lapking is called the first 
Christian King of Sweden. He was baptized in a 
spring near Husaby, called Byrghitta, by Bishop Sig- 
frid in A. D. 1008. Olaf Lapking refused to be styled 
Upsala King because this title denoted a guardian of 
the pagan temple and sacrifices. He therefore lost his 
prestige with the upper Swedes, who were mostly pag- 
ans, while the title Swede King displeased the Goths 
who were mostly Christians and more numerous. 

The lawman of West Gothland proposed at an 
Upsala Ting that the old dynasty be set aside and a 
King be elected from West Gothland. When the up- 
per Swedes indignantly rejected this proposal, with 
prophetic vision he warned them that if this was not 
done now, it .would be done in the near future, but only 
after many bloody conflicts and civil war. 

The fulfillment of this prediction now presents it- 
self to our notice. The new dynasty of Swedish 
Kings is of West Gothic origin. 

993—1060. OLAP, ANUND AND EDMUND. 103 

Denmark began at this time to increase in power 
and influence owing to her conquests in England. These 
conquests were occasioned principally by what is called 
the murder of the Danes, A. D. 1002, when a large num- 
ber of them were unexpectedly attacked and murdered 
by the Anglo Saxons during a time of peace and quiet. 
The Norse warriors in revenge for this crime attacked 
England with greater determination than ever before, 
and finally King Sven succeeded in conquering the 
whole country, and in driving the royal house out of 
England. He died in the year 1014, Then Canute the 
Great was acknowledged King over all England, and 
King of Denmark as well, when his brother died. He 
ruled both kingdoms with intelligence and prudence, 
dying in A. D. 1035. Olaf Lapking of Sweden was an 
ally of his during his supremacy in England and fur- 
nished him with ships and soldiers. 

Harald Grenske, one of the Norse petty Kings, de- 
scended from the family of Harald Harfager (Fairhair), 
and one of those whom Queen Sigrid had caused to be 
burned, left a son by the name of Olaf, who became 
famous as Olaf the Saint. For a long time he had 
busied himself with viking expeditions, but when Ca- 
nute's attention was taken up with conquests in Eng- 
land, Olaf laid claim to Norway, about the year 1014. 
Fortune smiled upon him and he soon gathered around 
himself a number of warriors, by whose aid he won a 
decisive victory over Sven Jarl, after which he was 
elected King of Norway. He made Norway indepen- 
dent, extended her borders, and made an end forever 
of petty Kings. He also built churches, caused priests 
to be ordained, and introduced Christianity all through 
Norway, thus accomplishing her conversion. 

i04 HISTORY Of SWBt)£N. . CHAt. Vlli. 

King Olaf, by putting the crown of Norway on his 
head, came into conflict with the rulers of Sweden and 
Denmark. King Olaf of Sweden became his bitter ene- 
my and prepared for war against Norway; but this 
did not please the Swedes, particularly those of West 
Gothland, who lived nearer to and were friendly with 
the Norwegians, with whom they had commercial rela- 
tions. Kagwald Ulfson, Jarl of the Westgoths, made 
a friendly alliance with Norway and when the Nor- 
wegian King sent messengers to King Olaf of Sweden 
to offer him peace and ask for his daughter in mar- 
riage, the Jarl accompanied them and lent the weight 
of his presence to the support of their suit 

In Sweden, says Snorre, it was the custom of the 
land in the heathen times, that the great sacrifice 
should be held at Upsala in the horning month (Febru- 
ary). This was the Disa Ting, or great court of all 
the Swedes, when they sacrificed through their King 
for peace and victory, and it was likewise a fair and 
time for commercial exchange. But after Christianity 
bad entered the country and the Kings had removed 
their seat from UiJsala, a Ting and fair were still held 
there at Candlemas. The dominion of the Swedes em- 
braces many provinces, every one of which has its own 
law, which is divided in chapters, and every law has 
its judge (lagman), who is the chief among the Son- 
des. He answers for all, when the King, or the Jarl, 
holds the Ting with the people, him they all follow, 
so that the great ones hardly dare to ]betake them- 
selves to the court without the consent of the judge afid 
the Bondes. The chief justice in Sweden is the lawman 
of Tiundaland; he was now called Thorgny; a name 

993—1060. OLAF, ANUND AND EDMUND. 105 

which, as well as the office itself, had long remained 
in his family. He was reckoned the wisest man in 
Sweden, and was fosterfather of Jarl Hagwald, where 
fore the Jarl first repaired to him with the Norwegian 
I nvoys. They came to" his estate, on which were large 
!.nd pleasant mansions. In the chamber sat an old 
jnan on the high seat, whose like for tallness they had 
never seen; his beard reached down so far that it lay 
on his knees. This was Thdrgny. The Jarl stepped 
before him and greeted him, was well entertained, and 
after a while mentioned the business on which he and 
the envoys had come, at the same time expressing his 
fears lest the King should receive them ungraciously, 
seeing that Olaf the Lapking would never hear Olaf the 
Norseman spoken of. Thorgny answered, "Strangely 
ye comport yourselves, ye that bear the Tiegnar name. 
Wherefore didst thou not bethink thee ere thou camest 
on this journey, that thou wert not strong enough to 
speak to our King Olaf? To me therefore it seemeth 
not less honorable to belong to the Bondes, and have 
freedom of speech even when the King is near." He 
accompanied the ambassadors to the great folkmote at 
Upsala. The first daty when the Ting sat, they saw 
there King Olaf on his chair, and all his court around 
him. Over against him on the other side of the Ting 
sat Jarl Ragwald and Thorgny on a bench, surrounded 
by the followers of the Jarl's and Thorgny's serving 
men; behind stood the Bondes and the common sort in 
a ring, some upon the barrows that lay by, to see and 
hear how all befell. Now, after the King's affairs, as 
the* usage was, had first been discussed in the mote, 
onf of the Norwegian messengers stood up and pre- 


f erred his request with a loud voice; but the King 
sprang from his seat in wrath, and broke off his 
speech. Jarl Ragwald declared, in the name of the 
West Goths, the same desire for a reconciliation with 
the Norwegians, but he met with no better a recep- 
tion. Thereupon was deep silence for a while. At last 
Thorgny rose, and with him rose all the Bondes, and 
there was a great din of arms and tumult in 
the crowd. When audience was granted, Thorg- 
ny thus spoke. "The Kings of the Swedes are 
now otherwise minded than once they were. Thorg- 
ny, my grandsire, well remembered Eric Ed- 
mundson, -King in Upsala, and was wont to tell of him, 
that while he was in his prime he marched every sum- 
mer to the war, and subdued to his dominion Finland, 
Kyrialand, Esthland, Kurland, and the Eastern coun- 
tries far and wide, where are yet to be seen earthen 
walls and other large works of his. Yet did he never 
deal so haughtily, that he would not endure discourse 
from those who had aught to propound to him. My 
father Thorgny was near King Bjorn a long time, and 
therefore knew his manners well; in his time things 
went prosperously with the realm, for there was no 
• dearth, and he was affable to his people. I myself 
freshly remember King Eric the Victorious, for I was 
with him in many of his enterprises. He aug- 
mented the Swedish dominion, and warded it stoutly, 
yet was it easy to come to speech with him. But this 
King now will let none speak with him, and will hear 
naught but what is pleasing to himself, which indeed 
he presses with all heat. His tributary lands he lets 
slip from him by his carelessness, and yet would he 

993—1060. OLAF, AXUXD AND EDMUND. 107 

rule over Norway', a thing that no King of the Swedes 
before him has coveted, for which many must live in 
unpeace. Wherefore we Bondes will, that thou, King 
Olaf, shouldst make up thy quarrel with Norway's 
King and give him thy daughter Ingegard in mar- 
riage. If thou wilt win back those lands in the East, 
which belonged to thy kinsmen and parents, we will at- 
tend thee thither. But if thou heed not our words, 
we will set upon and slay thee, and will not suffer law- 
lessness and trouble at thy hands. For so did our fath- 
ers before us; they threw five Kings into a well, that 
were pufied up with arrogance like thee. Now, say 
forthwith what thou wilt choose." Then a great clash- 
ing of arms again resounded from the people. But the 
King rose up and granted their prayer, adding, that 
so the Kings of Sweden had ever done, in taking coun- 
sel of the Bondes. 

The proceedings at this Ting between King Olaf of 
Sweden and the bondes represented by Thorgny their 
lawman show most clearly that the real power of gov- 
ernment and the right of declaring war, of making 
peace, of administering justice, and of providing for 
the welfare of the realm even to the giving away in 
marriage of the King's daughter were vested in the 
people up to this time, about A. D. 995. 

The Swedish princeiss Ingegard was betrothed to 
the Norwegian King, but her father broke the engage- 
ment by giving her to a Kussian Prince, and the Nor- 
wegian King had to wait a long time for his bride. 
Ragwald then made a proposition that King Olaf of 
Norway should, in place of Ingegard, marry the King's 
second daughter Astrid, who at this time was on a 


visit to the Jarl. Both of the young people took ad- 
vantage of the situation, and thus the princess Astrid 
was married to the Norwegian King without the know- 
ledge and consent of her father. Jarl Eagwald then 
travelled to Gardarike, now called Russia, in company 
with the princess Ingegard, where she married the 
Russian Grand Duke Jaroslav. 

The West Goths as well as the Swedes were highly 
exasperated at Kijig Olaf Lapking for his treachery 
and sent their lawman Edmund, a wise and prudent 
man, to the Ting at Upsala to endeavor to persuade 
the people that Olaf and his family ought to be driven 
from the Swedish throne. When his friends and coun- 
sellors saw what danger was threatening the King, 
they held a conference with him, the upshot of which 
was that King Olaf appeared before the Ting accom- 
panied by his son Anund Jacob, in whose favor he an- 
nounced his willingness to abdicate. The Swedes there- 
upon elected his son Jacob their King. The Bondes 
gave him the name of Anund. The new King, how- 
ever, divided the power with his father, to which pro- 
ceeding the Swedes consented on the condition that the 
old king should become reconciled with the Norwegian 
K|.ng, his son-in-ldw. This reconciliation took place 
during a personal interview at Konghall about the year 
1022. Two years later King Olaf of Sweden died and 
Anund Jacob was left sole ruler. 

Canute the Great was at this time meditating to re- 
store the former supremacy of Denmark over Norway. 
King Olaf of Norway sought the assistance of his 
brother-in-law Anund against the mighty Danish 
King. The two brothers-in-law agreed to help each 

993—1060. OLAF, ANUfND AND EDMUND. 109 

other, and, when Canute undertook. a pilgrimage to 
Rome, took advantage of his absence to devastate the 
Danish coasts. Canute, however, soon returned to Eng- 
land and with a strong fleet met his enemies in the 
Kiver Helge, where he was surrounded and was in dan- 
ger of being taken prisoner, but he escaped and the 
battle was drawn, neither side being able to claim any 
advantage. Canute afterwards succeeded by diplom- 
acy in raising the Norwegians against King Olaf. The 
Norwegian nobility were already dissatisfied with the 
despotism of the latter; when Canute approached Nor- 
way with a great fleet, the people immediately went 
over to him, and elected him King of Norway. King 
Olaf, thus abandoned by his people, fled the country 
and went to his brother-in-law Jaroslav, Czar of Rus- 
sia. After spending some time in Russia he deter- 
mined to return to Scandinavia and if possible regain 
his kingdom. On his return he landed on the island 
Gothland, and made efforts to convert the inhabitants 
to Christianity. After this he journeyed to his brother- 
in-law, King Anund of Sweden, from among whose at- 
tendants he gathered a small army and marched across 
the country to Norway, to a place called Stiklarstad. 
There he met a large Norwegian army; they fought 
fiercely, displaying great bravery until Olaf's forces 
were vanquished and he himself killed. This happened 
in the year 1030. After his death there was a com- 
plete change in the sentiment of the people concerning 
him and his government. The old bitterness and en- 
mity were changed to admiration for his piety, and a 
report was spread that on account of his good Christian 
character many miracle^ were being performed at hi^ 


grave. The people began to believe that he was a 
saint, and it was not long before he was generally wor- 
shiped as such in Norway, and Olaf is known to this 
day as the patron saint of the country. 

The Danish power, which was asserted very arro- 
gantly and oppressively over Norway, soon created dis- 
satisfaction among the people and contributed more 
than anything else to the change of feeling about St 
Olaf, the deceased King. The Norwegians were roused 
to indignation by the oppression of the Danes, so they 
recalled Magnus the son of St. Olaf, collected an army, 
and drove them from the country during the year 
1035. Canute the Great died in England the same year. 
It is said of him that his dominion was the greatest 
which had existed at any time in the North. He was 
at the same time King of Denmark, Norway, England 
and Scotland. The Vends also acknowledged his su- 
premacy. He was succeeded by his oldest son Harold 
in England; and in Denmark by his second son, Canute 
the Strong. The latter assembled an army prepara- 
tory to beginning war against King Magnus and the 
Norwegians, but the friends of the young Kings inter- 
ceded and brought about a reconciliation. A treaty 
was signed to the following effect: If either of the 
Kings should die without male issue, the survivor 
should become King in his place. It was not long be- 
fore this treaty went into effect Harold, King of Eng- 
land, died early and Canute, who had become ruler of 
England upon the death of his brother, died in the year 
1042 without leaving any children. 'He was the last of 
the old Danish royal line, and with his death the Dan- 
ish power in England also came to an end, and Den- 


mark was no more the dominant kingdom in the North 
of Europe. 

Nor-way on the other hand came rapidly to the front 
at this time. Magnus, King of Norway, known by the 
name of the Good, became King of Denmark in pur- 
suance of the treaty between the three Kings. He 
was constantly annoyed by civil war. Sven Ulfson, a 
nephew of Canute the Great, claimed the throne by 
right of succession. In Norway Harald, the son of 
Sigurd, the half brother of St Olaf, who had now 
returned home after years of ylking expeditions with 
honor, glory and wealth, became a competitor for the 
crown of Norway. Harald and Magnus agreed to rule 
jointly over Norway, but the two Kings did not get 
along well together, disputes beginning early and last- 
ing until Magnus' death in the year 1047. According 
to his last will and testament, Harald became King of 
Norway and Sven Estridson King of Denmark. ;A 
new dynasty called the Estrid ascended the throne 
of Denmark. 

Anund Jacob ruled for many years in peace over 
Sweden; he is praised as a wise, prudent and just King, 
and died in the year 1050, without leaving an heir to 
the throne. 

Edmund, called the Old, became King over United 
Sweden after the death of his brother Anund. The 
Swedish chronicles and the laws of West Gothland give- 
him a more odious name, the "Sleme," the Worthless, 
because he proved to be the most worthless King who 
had up to this time occupied the Asa throne. 

Sweden was now the dominant power in the North 
of Europe. The Upsala Kings had, through the steady 


support of the Upper Swedes or Upsala domain, been 
able to greatly extend the borders of Svithiod; taking 
province after province by war and by treaties, and in- 
corporating them into their dominions, until the whole 
peninsula, and Finland, Estland, and Venden beyond 
the Baltic as well, were Swedish. 

The boundary between Sweden, Denmark and Nor- 
way had not been strictly defined heretofore. Fre- 
quently Kings of Sweden ruled over all the three Scan- 
dinavian kingdoms as a sort of federation. But Swed- 
en had not agreed to' relinquish any part of her ter- 
ritory until about the year 1055, when this Edmund 
"Slenie," unworthy to be the ruler of a brave people-, 
dismembered her. 

At a meeting of the three Scandinavian Kings, Ed- 
mund "Sleme," King of Upsala; Sven, King of Den- 
mark; and Harald, King at Norway, the boundary lines 
were agreed upon and defined. The provinces Blek- 
ing, Scania and Ilalland were ceded by Edmund 
"Sleme" to Denmark, an act which the Swedes brand- 
ed as treason. After these boundary lines had been 
established, the laws of the West Goths with sarcastic 
irony relate that when King Edmund mounted his 
horse. King Sven of Denmark held the bridle and King 
Harald of Norway held the stirrup, as an indication 
of Edmund's and Sweden's overlordship, and as show- 
ing further their gratitude to the Swedish King for 
the valuable present he had bestowed upon them. The 
Swedes never forgot this treasonable act perpetrated 
by their King, and it was the more disgraceful be- 
cause it wag committed by the last of a long line of 
heroic Kings. Six hundred years had to elapse, dur- 

993—1060. OLAF, ANUND AND EDMUND. 113 

ing which Sweden and Denmark were intermittently 
at war with one another on account of this partition, 
which was not recognized by the Swedes, before these 
provinces, the fairest part of Sweden, were recovered 
permanently by Charles X. Gustavus, who, guided by 
General Eric Dahlberg, in the winter of 1658 marched 
his army over the ice of the Belts, and at the gates of 
Copenhagen, by the peace of Koskilde, regained them 
for Sweden. 

Edmund "Sleme" is supposed to have died A. D. 
1060, and on his demise the Yngling Dynasty of 
Sweden became extinct. According to Snorre Sturlas- 
son, one of the Councillors of Olaf Lapking in a Drapa 
about these Kings says: These Kings were the 
most renowned and exalted in the Northern King- 
doms for the Royal Dynasty of Kings was in a direct 
line descended from the very gods, who for a long 
time extended a special protection to their descendants 
although many of them had abandoned the Asa-faith. 





Sweden, Norway and Denmark Separate Kingdoms — Boundaries — Thiod- 
Kings — Fylkes-Kings — Consolidation of Fylkes Under Upsala Kings 
— Upsala Domain — Self Government — Jarls — Lawmen — Provincial 
Laws — Precedence of Upper Swedes — Social Condition of the Swedes 
— Fi'eedom and Slavei-y — The Odalman—Tiegnarmen— Means of Com- 
munication — Lakes and Rivers — Commerce and Occupations — Coins 
and Precious Metals — The Vikings and Commerce — Dwellings — Man- 
ners of Life — ^The Language Spoken — Poetry and Literature — The 
Written and Unwritten Law — Extinction of Ivar Dynasty. 

About the year A. D. 1000 the North of Europe, or 
what is known as Scandinavia, that is Sweden, Norway 
and Denmark, constituted separate kingdoms. The peo- 
ple were of the same race, having similar customs, in- 
stitutions, and laws; and the same language was spok- 
en in them all.. The boundaries between the three 
kingdoms were for a long time unsettled and were fre- 
quently in dispute, and certain provinces were claimed 
both by Sweden and Norway, more particularly Verm- 
land and Dal, which finally became part of Sweden. 
Scania, Halland and Bleking became a part of Den- 
mark, owing to the treachery of Edmund the Old. 

The King who ruled over each of these three separ- 
ate kingdoms was called the Thiod-king or the King of 
the people, hence thiod means kingdom. This history 


has traced the ascendency of the Thiod Kings ove. 
the many petty or fylkes kings of the different prov- 
inces. The King was originally nothing more than 
the commander of the army, who also as chief priest 
performed the sacrifices at the temple of the gods. But 
after the provinces had begun to be consolidated, the 
fylkes kings of the outlying provinces were either 
subjected or voluntarily submitted at the Alsharjar 
Ting. The provincial Kings gradually disappeared; 
some of them were conquered, while others placed 
themselves at the head of companies of Vikings and 
emigrated to foreign lands. The Upsala Kings acquired 
the greatest ascendency over the people and naturally 
made their power felt in the community. They sur- 
rounded themselves with a large number of warriors, 
and employed men on their landed estates all over the 
countrj'. These landed estates were- called in Sweden, 
Upsala domains, and the King derived his revenue 
mainly from them. The people continued to govern 
themselves under their provincial laws, the different 
hundreds having their own independent government 
and not being subjected to any taxes or impositions, 
except those which they voluntarily contributed. 
There was an agreement entered into by each province 
to provide a certain number of vessels in case of of- 
fensive or defensive war. The King of Sweden's solitary 
exercise of power over the people consisted in the ap- 
pointment of a jarl in each province and other oSc"^ :■■ 
whose duty it was to superintend the royal property, to 
collect his income, and to order the people to assemble 
in case of war. ThoFe who really ruled over the differ- 
ent provinces were the Lawmen, who at the end of the 


heathen period still were possessed of great power and 
influence. They not only presided at the legislatures 
and at judicial assemblies, but they were also the 
interpreters of the laws, and it was their duty to apply 
the same in the different disputes arising among the 
people. They were also the protectors of the rights 
and interests of the people" against the encroachments 
of the King and his officers. These law-men were em- 
powered in case of violation by the King of any of the 
laws of the province, or the treaties of the country 
with foreign powers, to oppose him and it was their 
duty to resist him. This will plainly appear from the 
story related of Torgny the law-man of West Gothland 
when he appeared at the Ting of Upsala and brought 
Olaf the Lapking to terms. 

In Sweden each province had its own peculiar laws 
and provincial judge or law-man, as well as its particu- 
lar Ting, which was a legislative as well as a judicial 
assembly. In Norway and Denmark the provinces were 
larger. . Up to this time the provinces of Sweden did 
not stand in any particular close relationship towards 
each other; they merely recognized one King. Some 
precedence was given to the province from which the 
King had been elected. The law-man or judge of Up- 
land was considered the most prominent of all the law- 
men of Sweden.. The inhabitants of this province, or 
the upper Swedes, as they were called, had the privi- 
lege of casting the first vote at the election of the King; 
whereupon the other provinces swore him allegiance. 
The great winter Ting held at Upsala and called 
Disa Ting, exercised great influence over the country. 
This was the place where the great and beautiful tem- 
ple of the gods was located. It is now known as old 

General survey Of pagan period. 117 

Upsala and it was in this part of the country that the 
King usually resided. West Gothland was the most 
prominent and populous province as well as the old- 
est among the Gothic provinces. 

The people of Sweden down to this time had been 
divided into two classes, namely, freeborn and slaves. 
The slaves were either prisoners of war or the de- 
scendants of old serfs who were thus subjected tO' slav- 
ery. Their numbers were constantly increased by the 
war carried on during the period of the Viking ages; 
but after Christianity had been introduced into Swed- 
en the condition of the slaves was greatly ameliorated, 
and many of them received their freedom. The free 
born were not at this period divided into different 
estates. All freeborn persons, however, did not have 
an identical amount of influence and political power. 
Property and wealth have always commanded honor 
and importance. The Odalman was the most prominent 
individual, socially and politically, and enjoyed the 
greatest privileges; under him stood the tenants who 
by payment of a certain rent were entitled to cultivate 
his land. The tenants were freeborn, but they had no 
voice in the political affairs of the province. The 
most prominent among the odalmen were those elected 
as representatives; such as the chiefs of the hundreds; 
and the provincial judges and law-men. Above these 
in rank and honor, but not in authority, stood certain 
men called Tiegnarmen, descendants of the Kings and 
of Jarls. To be born of and belong to a distinguished 
family was considered a great honor among the 
Swedes; and. already certain men of wealthy families, 
who had made a name for themselves, either at home 


or abroad, began to exert influence on the public af- 
fairs. Those who were in the personal service of the 
King and belonged to his guard, gradually separated 
themselves from the great community of the odalmen, 
but they were not distinguished from them by any 
special privileges; they did not compose a separate 
estate or form a nobility, though through this class the 
nobility had its origin. 

The population of Sweden, A. D. 1000, was not very 
large, as the country was little cultivated. Villages 
were scattered far apart, and were separated by ex-, 
tensive forests and large uninhabited tracts of land, 
which began to be broken and cultivated as the popu- 
lation increased, Scania and certain parts of West 
and East Gothland and the country around Malar en 
had a numerous population for centuries. These 
provinces had always maintained close relations with 
one another. Travel was exceedingly difficult through 
the great forests and uncultivated tracts of land. 
There were no roads, and travelers were exposed to 
the attacks of highway robbers and lawless characters, 
who infested the forests. The wild and mountainous 
country inspired the imagination of the traveler with 
awe and wonder. Travel by water was easier; as all 
the Swedes were daring and excellent sailors. The 
geographical surveys show that in olden times the 
water sometimes covered large districts of land which 
are now cultivated by husbandmen. The gulfs of the 
sea penetrated far into the country; and the inland 
lakes were more numerous, of greater extent and 
deeper than they are now. The navigable rivers were 
almost the sole internal highways for commerce and 


travel. The boats were of a light peculiar build and 
were used on rivers not navigable at present. 

Commerce and peaceful occupations received little 
encouragement during the time when every man of 
prominence was engaged in war either at home or 
abroad. The people were mostly engaged in hunting, 
fishing, the raising of cattle and kindred occupations. 
Agriculture was practiced to a considerable extent, 
while certain manufactures were engaged in and re- 
ceived an impetus from the constant viking expedi- 
tions. Among the mechanical crafts, none were con- 
sidered of such high importance as the making of war 
material, such as weapons and armor, and the build- 
ing of ships, in which the Swedes had acquired extra- 
ordinary skill. The people learned early to manufac- 
ture iron and steel from the great abundance of iron 
ore found in the country. The precious metals were 
mostly imported. The sources whence they came were 
payments to soldiers serving in the Koman and other 
foreign armies, booty recovered by the Vikings on 
their expeditions, or commerce. Coins, jewelry and 
other precious ornaments of gold and silver were wide- 
ly distributed among the people, a fact which is proved 
by the numerous finds in the earth and in mounds 
dating from this period. The oldest coins minted in 
Sweden, so far as can be ascertained, were made 
about A. D. 1000 during the reign of Olaf the 
Lapking. Commerce was greatly disturbed by. 
constant viking expeditions, but it also received 
great encouragemeint from the same source, since 
the Vikings were frequently engaged in com- 
merce or lent their protection to merchants. By means 
of this extraordinary system of navigation, com- 


merce with foreign lands, particularly with Germany, 
England, Kussia and the Orient had been brought up 
to a flourishing condition. The most prominent cities 
in Sweden,which also had the best harbors, were Birka, 
Ladose and Calmar. These cities had a large foreign 
commerce. The internal trade of the country was com- 
paratively insignificant and consisted mostly in ex- 
change of local products. Fairs were usually held at 
the annual sacrifices to the gods, during the heathen 
period. These fairs were continued after the country' 
was Christianized, at the same places. Cities sprang 
up in these localities and became centers of population. 
The rural population was cen|:ered mostly in vil- 
lages ; at a later period, they were scattered and lived 
by single families on their own land. The dwellings or 
farm yards of the Swedes consisted mostly of several 
wooden buildings massed together in a rectangle, of 
which the most prominent building was the dwelling, 
and contained one large square room. This room was 
open right up to the roof. As yet they had no glass to 
let light into their dwellings, but the day-light had 
to find its way through certain small parchment cov- 
ered openings in the walls. There was one aperture 
in the roof through which the smoke escaped, and 
which served as a chimney. Along the walls were sta- 
tionary benches and in the center a table. In the mid- 
dle of the longest side of the room were the seats of the 
master of the house and the mistress, which were built 
like thrones and were called the high seats. On the 
other side were benches which served for the guests, 
the benches at the sides of the table belonging to the 
men and women of the household. 


The language which was spoken in the North and 
in Iceland at this period was called the Norse tongue, 
and it was the same language which is yet spoken in 
Iceland. The Norse tongue is not rich in words and 
phrases like the Southern languages, but it is pure, 
expressive, flexible, soft and beautiful. This language 
produced in olden times the most beautiful songs and 
pagas, gems of extraordinary beauty, in which the 
poets sang of their gods and heroes. These beautiful 
songs are yet preserved and are called the earlier or 
older and later or younger Eddas. The language was 
enriched and developed by the poets and the narrators 
of the sagas, many of whom were Icelanders. Poetry 
was an art, and those persons who devoted themselves 
to it were highly esteemed, and frequently there were 
heroes who were poets as well. At this time few if any 
of the poems, songs and sagas of the North had been 
reduced to writing. The laws were mostly written in 
the runic alphabet, and were arranged in sections and 
chapters; as few of the people could, before 
printing was used, obtain copies of the written laws, 
they were impressed on the minds of the people by a 
certain kind of versification. A paragraph in the laws 
of the West Goths contains a list of the names of the 
law-men of the West Goths, and another paragraph 
says that the laws had been (^ompiled by the law-man, 
Lumb; the laws of Upland were compiled by Vigespa, 
the law-man. 

The characters used in writing by the Swedes were 
the runes. They were not extensively used, however, 
as it was considered a divine gift to know the art of 
writing, and they were mostly engraved on monu- 
ments, rocks and stones wnich were erected by the sur- 




vivors, in memory of their deceased relatives and 

The dynasty of Ivar became extinct by the death 
of Edmund Sleme and Kings were elected from other 
prominent Swedish families. Owing to the elevation 
of these men to the Swedish throne, a readjustment 
between the people at home and foreign nations was 
brought about. This was more easily accomplished as 
the light of the gospel had during the 9th and 10th 
centuries penetrated the spirit aal darkness of the 
Swedish intellect; and the dawn of 'Christianity was 
spreading its blessed light over the people. 

The Laws of the West Goths. — The following is a 
fac-simile of a page from the laws of the West Goths, 
the oldest written book known in the Swedish Ian 

i?jnH*?ii8|t i1x\h^mMn0. turn ^'PiMliSki, 


guage. It is written on parchment, and covers' 120 
pages; from certain historical" accounts on the last 
pages it is supposed to date from the 12th century. 
Its internal evidence, from the many heathen customs 
therein described, proves this law to have been in ex- 
istence for the governing of the people prior to the 8th 

The second word, which looks like a trident, or fork, 
and which apears in two other places, is the old 
rune — the M — sound and is pronounced "madre" and 
in the text means "man." 

After the introduction of Christianity, the monks 
used latin and also introduced the Roman alphabet. 
However, it is interesting to note that as late as the 
12th century and even later the people clung to the old 
laws, the old customs and the old runes. 

Translation of a portion thereof: 

"If a man intends to make a journey to a foreign 
land, he shall first appoint an administrator over his 
propei'ty. If he say that he is going to Eome, then 
shall the administrator have control of his property 
until a year and a day have passed. If the owner do 
not return by that time, then shall the property like 
a descendant's estate be distributed among his heirs." 

"The man who dwells in Grekland (Constantinople) 
shall inherit no man's property." 




Christianity Established in Sweden — Her Prosperity — Danish Rulers— 
The Grandees of Sweden — The Stenkil Dynasty — The Upper Swedes 
Lose Supremacy — Jarl Stenkil Elected King — His Liberality — ^Adal- 
vard. Bishop of Skara — His Plan to Destroy the Temple of Upsala — 
Stenkil's Dispute with Harald of Norway — Harald's War in England 
— His Death — Death of Stenkil — Feud Between Pagans and Christ- 
ians — Civil War — Hakon the Red Rules in Upsala — Halsten and 
Inge — Stenkil's Sons Elected Kings by the Goths and Swedes — 
Inge's Zeal — He Loses the Crown — Sven Elected King — Called Blot- 
Sven — Inge Murders Sven and Becomes King Again — War Between 
Inge and Magnus of Norway — Terms of Peace — "Maid of Peace" — 
Denmark and Sweden Receive Separate Bishops — Inge's Death — 
Philip and Inge II. in West Gothland — ^Eric King at Upsala — Philip's 
and Inge II. 's Death — Christian Preachers — Sigurd of Norway — His 
Crusade — Christianity the National Religion. 

The Middle Ages. The First Period of the Middle 
Ages. — Christianity had by this time taken deep root 
in Sweden and the church become fully established. 
The people became earnest Christians and took an ac- 
tive interest in the crusades. After a time of civil war 
and general disorder, Sweden under a succession of 
powerful monarchs reached a condition of domestic 
tranquility and prosperity, and a better education was 
diffused among the people. Denmark was ruled by the 
royal family of the Valdemars, Norway by the House 
of Sverres, and Sweden by the first dynasty of the 

1060—1130. STENKIL DYNASTY. 125 

Polkungers. The; early self-government of the people 
was encroached upon, and in its place the government 
fell on the one hand under the control of the King 
and on the other of the newly established privileged 
estates — which were composed of the Eoman Catholic 
clergy and the nobility, which together formed an aris- 

The Koyal Family of Stenkil. — The crown of Swed- 
en descended in the old royal line so long as any mem- 
ber of the same was in existence; but when this fam- 
ily became extinct the Swedes elected their Kings from 
other powerful families within the realm. They were 
not, however, recognized as having any preferential 
claim to the throne, and Sweden became in reality an 
elective monarchy. Previous to the 10th and 11th cen- 
turies the other provinces had out of respect to the 
royal family of the Upper Swedes, conceded them a 
certain kind of supremacy on account of the old heath- 
en temple being located among them at Upsala. But 
when Christianity had become the national religion of 
Sweden the Asa Temple lost its sanctity, and the Up- 
per Swedes their prestige. This caused war and 
strife to break out between the provinces of the Up- 
per Swedes and the West and East Goths, as the form- 
er clung to the old Asa religion, while the latter be- 
came converted to Christianity. It was now a strug- 
gle betwen Christianity and heathenism for political 

Upon the death of Edmund (A. D. 1060,) all the 
provinces united to elect Jarl Stenkil, son-in-law of the 
deceased King Edmund the Old, and a man of great 
prominence in West Gothland to succeed him as King. 


Although he was a good Christian, he was neverth^ 
less liberal in his views, and succeeded by wisdom, 
prudence and extraordinary administrative ability in 
remaining on friendly terms with the Upper Swedes, 
who did not recognize Christianity but adhered to the 
old Asa faith. He encouraged the preaching of Chris- 
ianity and supported the missionaries who were sent 
to Sweden from Bremen. During his reign, Adalvard 
the elder was preaching the gospel in West Gothland, 
where he organized and founded the first diocese, that 
of Skara; while Adalvard the younger was preaching 
■among the Swedes in Upland with some success. 
Bishop Egino was an enthusiastic Christian worker at 
Lund, his Episcopal seat, and did much for the conver- 
sion of the Swedes. 

For some time they were, quite successful in their 
proselytizing campaign; but when Adalvard the young- 
er and Bishop Egino in their fanatical enthusiasm 
for the Christian cause planned the destruction of the 
great temple of Upsala, they brought upon themselves 
the wrath of the followers of the Asa faith. King Sten- 
kil took steps to prevent such a fanatical undertaking, 
which, if successful, would have, precipitated a civil 
and religious war. 

The reign of King Stenkil was peaceful and happy 
both at home and abroad; but he could not avoid dis- 
putes with the war-like King Harald Hardrade of Nor- 
way. The latter, however, soon had^ his attention di- 
rected elsewhere when he commenced war against Eng- 
land, where he fell in battle in 1066. King Stenkil 
died about the same time. 

After the de?ith of Stenkil the enmity between the 

1060—1130. STENKIL DYNASTY. 127 

heathens and the Christians broke out with great bit- 
terness and fury; and now ensued civil war, strife and 
internal disorders which continued for several genera- 
tions. The fairest part of Sweden was laid waste and 
many of her inhabitants killed. The two young sons 
of Stenkil, Halsten and Inge, found an asylum in West 
Gothland during these dissensions and disturbances. 
During their minority Hakon the Ked was recognized 
as King and he ruled for thirteen years. About the 
year 1080 Halsten and Inge the older were elected 
Kings by the West Goths and recognized as such by the 
Swedes at a subsequent Ting. 

King Inge wa's a firm and devoted Christian, and 
spurred by the Pope Gregorius VII. to Christian zeal, 
he determined to exterminate heathenism in Sweden. 
He therefore appealed to the people to adopt Christian- 
ity, abandon the Asa-faith, and destroy their gods. The 
Upper Swedes considered that this presumptuous de- 
mand encroached on their political rights. They op- 
posed the order of the King, and at their Disa Ting 
laid before him two altematives,either to recognize and 
uphold the old law and customs of the people or else to 
resign the crown. When Inge declared that he was 
not willing to abandon his Christian faith and that he 
wanted the people to become Christians, the Swedes 
of Upland rose to a man in their wrath and voted to 
dethrone him; they even began to throw stones at him 
and drove him away from their Ting. Sven, a wealthy, 
influential and powerful man among them and the 
brother-in-law of the deposed King Inge, then arose 
and offered to conduct the sacrifices to the gods as 
of old and according to olden customs if they were 


willing to elect him their King. The Swedes consent- 
ed with a great shout and elected him forthwith. A 
great sacrificial feast was immediately prepared at 
which Sven officiated and thereafter he was called 
Blot-Sven, Sven the Sacrificer. So it was that he be- 
came King of the Swedes in the place of Inge. Three 
years after, King Inge, who, like a good Christian of 
those days, considered murder the proper means of 
converting the pagans to Christianity, collected a band 
of his followers and in the night came unperceived to 
the castle of King Sven, surrounded it, and set it on 
fire. As King Sven and his men tried to escape from 
the burning building they were cut down and killed by 
Inge's men. By force and fraud King Inge was again 
recognized ruler over the Upper Swedes and under his 
protection Christianity made great progress over the 
whole of his kingdom. 

Very little is known concerning the late years of 
the rule of the sons of Stenkil except as to the war 
which broke out between King Inge and King Magnus 
Barefoot in Norway. This war was mainly conducted 
in the neighborhood of West Gothland. After several 
years of a desolating conflict between the two king- 
doms. King Erik of Denmark offered to mediate be- 
tween them, and the three kings met in the year 1101 
at a place called the King's Eock in Gota River, where 
the dispute between the two kingdoms was defined, 
terms of peace were agreed upon, and Inge's daughter 
Margarite was married to King Magnus of Norway, 
whence she was called, "The Maid of Peace." The 
King of Sweden and Denmark thereupon prevailed 
upon the Pope to remove the Northern Kingdoms from 

1060—1130. STENKIL DYNASTY. 129 

the domineering rule of the Archbishop of Bremen, 
and in 1104 an Archniiocese was established for them 
at Lund. This arrangement made the city of Lund 
of great prominence during the middle ages. 

It is generally supposed that King Inge died about 
the year 1111, prior to the time that King Halsten of 
Norway persuaded the people of the Swedish province 
of Jamtland to separate themselves from Sweden and to 
recognize the King of Norw^ay. The date of Halsten's 
death is unknown. The sons of Stenkil were succeeded 
by Philip and Inge II, or theYounger, both sons of King 
Halsten, who ruled in peace and quiet. Their time was 
devoted to the internal improvement of the country. 
It is evident that they did not rule over the whole of the 
kingdom of Sweden, for simultaneously with them a 
certain King Eric ruled over the Upper Swedes at Up- 
sala. He was the son of King Sven, who had been 
murdered by King Inge after he had sacrificed to the 
Asa gods. King Philip's rule was short. Inge the 
Younger died, as it is supposed by poison, about the 
year 1125. He was the last of the Stenkil dynasty on 
the male side; but there were several descendants on 
the female side who soon appeared on the scene and 
laid claim to the throne of Sweden, and for five years 
there were many pretenders. 

Christianity had, during this era, slowly spread to all 
parts of the country owing to the energy, perse- 
verance and enthusiasm of the priests, monks and mis- 
sionaries. Among those who devoted themselves to 
the conversion of the Swedes during this period David 
and Askil from England, Stephen from Germany, and 
the Swede Botvid are deserving of special mention; the 


three latter suffered a martyr's death, which was caus- 
ed by their own fanatical zeal, rather than by per- 
secution for their Christian belief. Askil and Botvid 
are called the apostles of Sodermanland, David of 
Westmanland and Stephen of Norrland. 

It is related, that on one occasion only was an 
attempt made to convert the Swedes to Christianity 
by force of arms, and this was done by strangers. King 
Sigurd of Norway, who had made a pilgrimage to Jeru- 
salem, in his religious enthusiasm undertook a crusade 
against the Southern part of Sweden. The country 
near Kalm3,r was invaded and the heathens were com- 
pelled at the point of the sword to adopt Christianity 
and be baptized. Although many were converted to 
Christianity in name, and under compulsion, still 
heathen superstitions continued to flourish in many 
parts of Sweden ; and even during the latter half of the 
]2th century the Northern parts of the country had 
not adopted Christianity. Not until about 1200 had 
Christianity been accepted as the national religion, be- 
tween three and four hundred years after rhe time that 
Ansgar first preached the Christian faith at Birka. 




Magnus Elected King by the West Goths — Civil War — Eagnvald, King — 
Killed by the West Goths — Sveiker.King — Promoter of the Church — 
Influx of Monks and Nuns — Churches and Monasteries — Papal Le- 
gate — King Sven of Denmark Invades Sweden — The Upper Swedes 
in 1150 Elect Eric, a Rich Bonde, King — Related to Inge II. — Upsala 
Episcopal See — Woman's Equality before the Law — Crusades — ^The 
Swedes March to the Holy Land — To Finland and Russia — Finns 
and Lapps — Erie's Crusade against the Finns, 1157 — ^Abo, Episcopal 
See of Finland — Eric Murdered — ^Canonized as St. Eric — Prince 
Magnus of Denmark, the Murderer, Slain 1161 — Charles Elected King 
—His Policy — Upsala Archbishopric 1164 — Stephen, Archbishop — 
Canute, Son of Eric Claims the Kingdom — Civil War — Charles Killed 
1167— Canute King^The Pirates— Stockholm Fortified— Canute Died 
1195 — ^The Folkunger — Wealth and Influence — Birger Brosa — Sverker 
II. King— Exempts Clergy from the Law — War between the Dynas- 
ties of Eric and Sverker — Valderaar of Denmark and Sverker II. — 
Invade Sweden — Eric VII. and the Swedes — Battle of Lena — ^Danes 
Defeated — Sverker II.'s Invasion — John I., Son of Sverker II. King 
— Bishops Become Rulers in Fact — John's Crusades — Death 1222— 
Eric Elected King — His Flight— Canute King — Eric Returns — ^Alli- 
ance with the Folkungers — Sabina Legate — The Canon Law — ^Nuns 
and Friars— New Crusade to Finland— Eric's Death 1250. 

During the time succeeding the extinction of th'^ 
Stenkil Dynasty great confusion, internal strife, and 
incessant civil war prevailed in Sweden. The different 
provinces elected their own kings, a proceeding which 
was generally followed by civil war. A Danish prince, 
Magnus, laid claim to the Swedish throne, because he 


was a descendent of King Inge the Elder. The West 
Goths elected him King. The Upper Swedes at Mora 
Stone elected Kagnvald. He demanded that the West 
Goths should also recognize him as king, claiming that 
the choice of the Upper Swedes ought to be ratified 
by them. Then with great pomp and ceremony he 
marched into the province of West Gothland, with- 
out paying any attention to the old customs and laws 
of the province, which required him to wait at the 
boundary line until the people's representatives invited 
him to proceed. The laws of West Gothland' specifical- 
ly prescribed the manner of the King's Eric-gate. 
The new King having crossed the boundary without 
leave, the people met him and killed him about the year 
1129 for violating the law. In 1133 the East Goths 
met, and for the first time elected their own King, one 
Sverker, a prominent and influential man in that part 
of the country. He had married the widow of King 
Inge II., or the Younger, which circumstance sti'ength- 
ened his claim to rule over' all the Swedes. The Up- 
land Swedes as well as the West Goths recognized him 
as King. With him began the Sverker dynasty. As 
he was an East Goth, this province henceforth exer- 
cised greater influence in Swedish affairs than it had 
done heretofore. 

King Sverker I. was a quiet and peace-loving man 
who discouraged war and devoted himself mostly to 
the concerns of the Christian church, which became 
fully establishtni in the Gothic provinces during his 
reign. A new diocese was established at Linkoping 
and the Catholic system of monasteries and nunneries 
was introduced into the country. St. Bernard, a monk, 
was at this period living in France, reforming the con- 


vent systems of that part of the world. King Sverker 
and his Queen sent an embassy to him requesting that 
he would send monks of his order to Sweden to estab- 
lish convents there. As a result of this request many 
monks came to Sweden and by royal assent and assist- 
ance established themselves in the country. Their first 
settlements were situated at Alvastra in East Goth- 
land, Nydal in Smaland, and Varhem in West Goth- 
land, which were soon followed by others. These 
monks usually settled in the country districts, where 
they commenced teaching the people the Christian re- 
ligion, agriculture and manufactures, in which thiey 
were mostly skilled; thus introducing Southern civil- 
ization and customs among the people. At this time 
the Pope began to give greater attention to the 
Scandinavian North and sent a Legate with instruc- 
tions to examine into the condition of the church 
there. This Legate was Nicholas, Cardinal-bishop of 
Albano, who first visited Norway and there established 
an arch-diocese, after which he visited Sweden and 
in 1152 met the most distinguished and influential per- 
sons of the kingdom as well as of the clergy at Linkop- 
ing. This Legate desired to establish an arch-diocese 
in Sweden also; but as the Swedes could not agree upon 
the place where the arch-diocese should be established, 
nor the person to fill the place, the whole question went 
over for future consideration. However, the Legate 
was more successful in persuading the Swedish people 
to make the yearly contributions known as Peter's 
pence, which was a yearly contribution for the sup- 
port of the Pope. 

Although King Sverker was a man of peaceful 


disposition, he nevertheless became involved in war 
with the Danish King Sven Grade. The latter invaded 
Sweden in the middle of winter and penetrated far 
into the forests where the war-like Swedes met him 
and attacked him without warning, killing a large 
number of his followers and taking others prisoners, 
after which he was compelled to retreat. The old 
disputes between the provinces of Upland and Gothland 
broke out during this same reign, and the country 
in general was dissatisfied with the government of 
Sverker and his family. One of his sons was killed 
by the Bondes at the Ting, and finally they voted to de- 
throne the King. In East Gothland he ruled until the 
year 1156, when he was murdered on Christmas eve by 
his body servant as he was attending mass. His son 
Charles succeeded him as King of the East Goths. 

After the Upland Swedes had dethroned Sverker, 
about the year 1150, they elected as their King a fam- 
ous man of their province named Eric, son of Edward, 
who according to the chronicles was a good and rich 
Bonde. He was the first of the royal dynasty of the 
Erics, a brother-in-law of Inge II., and is described by 
the chronicles as one of the greatest and best Kings 
of Sw'eden during the middle ages. By the assistance 
of Bishop Henry at Upsala, King Eric succeeded in 
firmly establishing Christianity in Sweden. He built 
churches and caused Christian ministers to be or- 
dained; a new Episcopal diocese was firmly established 
at Upsala, and foundations were laid for two others 
at Strengnas and Vesteras. King Eric with great zeal 
and determination endeavored to inculcate a Chris- 
tian spirit among the people and to Christianize the 


customs and laws. Among other things accomplished 
during his reign, the law giving the wife her proper 
share in her husband's estate has been ascribed to him, 
by which the status of both woman and the marriage- 
tie was elevated. In the capacity of father of his peo- 
ple he traveled around the country, visiting their 
homes, and watching over the adminstration of justice, 
settling disputes, and urging all to live in peace and 
harmony. His private life was that of a devout Chris- 
tian; and his economy and prudence set an excellent 
example to all his subjects. 

During this period the people of Europe were still 
possessed by the spirit of the crusades, which was an 
enthusiastic and fanatical endeavor to rescue the holy 
sepulcher from the infidels, as well as to convert the 
heathen to Christianity. Great hosts of Christians 
assembled every year and moved eastward to the Holy 
Land. This pious enthusiasm extended to the North 
and several well equipped fleets sailed from Sweden 
to Palestine. Michaud's History of the Crusades de- 
scribes a terrible battle between a Scandinavian fleet 
with 1,500 Norsemen and the infidels. But the crusades 
of the Northern Christians,particularly of Sweden,were 
directed more especially against pagans occupying the 
countries East of the Baltic. In those parts which are 
now known as Finland and Russia, lived certain 
pagans known as Finns, and Vendes, who lived in 
Esthonia. These people were pirates of long stand- 
ing, and were a constant scourge to their Christian 
neighbors. The Danes prepared a crusade against the 
Vendes and the Swedes directed their efforts against 
the Finns. Sweden and Finland had from pagan times 


been closely associated, and during these times many 
Swedish colonists had settled on the coast of Finland. 

During the early part of the historical era there 
were living in the south-western part of Finland 
certain tribes known as the Sumer and the Tavaster, 
and in the East the Careler, and in the North the Lapps. 
These people were divided into many small communi- 
ties. They worshiped certain spirits in nature, both 
good and evil, but also certain demigods with human 
characteristics who gradually assumed the most im- 
portant place in their rites. Among the objects of 
their reverence was the old prophet known as Vanamoi, 
who ruled over water and fire, and was the originator 
of all civilization. He also discovered or originated 
the art of poetry and music. When he touched his 
harp the heart of the spiritual and temporal world 
stood still. The Finns were lovers of song and music, 
and they celebrated and worshiped their gods and he- 
roes in certain popular songs and poetry which have 
been preserved by the people and delivered from mouth 
to mouth to the present time. These have been lately 
collected and are known by the name of Kalavala 
songs, a grand epic. 

King Eric in an access of pious enthusiasm de- 
termined to convert the pagan Finns to Christianity, 
and according to the custom of the times organized an 
army and proceeded to reclaim them by the force of 
arms. When the Finns proved unwilling to abandon 
the faith of their fathers, he declared open war against 
them. Backed by his victorious army^ he compelled 
them to be baptized and accept the Christian religion 
and to receive Christian teachers. This crusade took 


place about the year 1157 and was directed principally 
against the Southwestern part of Finland, known as 
the province of Abo. The King thereupon returned to 
Sweden but he left a number of Swedish colonists and 
priests behind him, among them Bishop Henry, to 
complete his missionary work. The latter, an enthusi- 
astic and impolitic man, was murdered by a newly 
converted Finn, who had manifested a vindictive spirit 
against the bishop. During the following eighty years 
the Swedish colonists were left to themselves, without 
any assistance or support from the mother country. 
Abo was the center of this newly established colony. 
A fortification was built, and soon a considerable city 
sprang up around it which became the seat of the 
Episcopal diocese of Finland. 

Soon after King Eric's return to Sweden he fell a 
victim to the hatred of his enemies. One day he was 
sitting quietly in the church of East Aros, the present 
Upsala, attending mass, when a messenger appeared 
and informed him that a hostile army was approach- 
ing, led by Prince Magnus of Denmark. Eric, unwill- 
ing to be disturbed in his devotions, waited until the 
mass was over, then gathered around him what armed 
men he could find and went forth to meet his foe, but, 
after a heroic defence, fell covered with wounds. May 
18, 1160. There is a legend among the people that 
on the place where his blood was spilled a fountain 
welled up out of the earth, and they believe that mira- 
cles were performed at his grave. In the eyes of the 
people he was a holy man, and he was worshiped dur- 
ing the whole of the Catholic period as Saint Eric, 
and became the patron Saint of Sweden. On the 18th 


day of May, the date of his death, the people kept an 
annual festival, when Saint Eric's mass was sung in 
the churches. His bones were gathered up, placed in 
a costly silver chest, and rest in the Cathedral of Up- 
sala. It was believed that his standard brought victory 
to the army who carried it in their ranks. The holiest 
oaths were made in his name, and an appeal was made 
both to God and to Saint Eric the King. Stockholm 
bears his efl&gy on its arms. He was not canonized by 
the See of Rome because his people either could not 
or would not at the time pay enough to cover the 
enormous expenses of making him a saint, as demand- 
ed by the Pope 

The Danish Prince, Magnus Henrickson, who mur- 
dered Eric the King, did not long enjoy the fruits of 
his heinous crime. The enraged people all over SHyed- 
en rose up in arms against him. An army of the East 
Goths joined them under the command of Charles, son 
of Sverker, and the united forces won a decided victory 
over Magnus, who fell in battle near Upsala in 1161, 
The hitherto separated provinces thus united to avenge 
the death of Saint Eric, their King. Over his grave 
they extended to each other the hand of peace and 
harmony. The Upland Swedes joined and elected 
Charles their King. Geijer says he was the first king 
of Sweden to bear the honorable name of Charles, al- 
though he was later known in the history of Sweden 
as Charles VII. Charles is also the first King after the 
time of Stenkil who ruled over the whole kingdom. He 
endeavored to harmonize and solidify the separate prov- 
inces and thus form a united people. From this time 
nothing more is heard of Jarls of the different prov- 


inces; but the King. had by his side one Jarl of the 
realm who was known as his assistant in the adminis- 
tration of the government. King Charles was aided in 
harmonizing the different provinces by the circum- 
stance that Sweden was now christianized and had 
received a common church government. Pope Alex- 
ander III. made Sweden a separate church province 
under its own Archbishop with a seat at Upsala in 
1164. The first Archbishop who was consecrated at 
Upsala was Stephen, a monk from Alvastra. 

King Eric the Saint left sons surviving him, of 
whom the oldest, Canute, soon laid claim to the throne 
of Sweden. It was not long before he was compelled 
to abandon his pretentions and flee to Norway. Sud- 
denly he returned and with the Upland Swedes sur- 
prised and killed King Charles near Visingso in 1167. 
After a period of civil war which lasted for five years 
between him and the Kings of the Sverker family 
Canute Erlcson was recognized by all the Swedes as 
King, ^nd peace was restored. The chroniclers have 
little to say of the reign of Canute, except that a sud- 
den attack was made by pagan pirates on Sweden. A 
hostile fleet appeared in 1187 on the Eastern coast 
which penetrated far up Malaren, sacking and burning 
the villages and cities. The Archbishop was attacked 
in his own castle and murdered. The flourishing city 
of Sigtuna was burned to the ground. The Swedes 
now saw the necessity of protecting their coasts, and 
particularly of defending the entrance to Malaren. A 
fortress was therefore built on an island which re- 
ceived the name of Stockholm, around which there 
soon sprang up a flourishing city, which for about 600 


years lias been the .capital of Sweden, Canute died in 
tlie Autumn of 1195. By a Swedish wife he had four 

The most powerful and wealthy family in Sweden 
during this period was the family of the Folkunger. 
Folke'Digre was the iirst of his line and lived about 
the year 1100. This family increased rapidly in wealth 
and influence, and by marriage became related to the 
several royal houses of the North. To this family King 
Canute's powerful Jarl Birger Brosa belonged. When 
King Canute died, Sverker II., son-in-law of Jarl Bir- 
ger, was elected King, although Canute had left several 
sons. The new King began to strengthen his position, 
and increase his power by alliance with and support 
of the church, to which he showed many favors. By a 
royal charter of the year 1200 it was ordained that 
the clergy were exempt from appearing before any of 
the courts of the realm, and should be judged by the 
spiritual courts only. In the same letter mention was 
also made for the first time of the so-called spiritual 
fralse, which freed church property, real and personal, 
from taxes to the crown. These privileges were by 
succeeding rulers further extended to all property 
which the church and the priest might acquire in the 
future. The custom of paying tithes to the church was 
also introduced into Sweden. 

» After the death of Birger Brosa, the harmony be- 
tween King Sverker II. and the sons of Canute came 
to an end, and the two parties found themselves on the 
verge of hostilities. Nor were these long delayed, for 
the armies of the two factions met in a pitched battle 
near Elgaras in 1205, where three of Canute's sons fell 


and the fourth, Eric, fled to Norway where he had near 
relatives. After the lapse of two years Eric returned 
and King Sverker II, who had in the meantime become 
involved in a dispute with the Folkungers, was in turn 
compelled to flee to his friends and relatives in Den- 
mark. King Valdemar prepared a great army for the 
assistance of Sverker II. at the head of which he re^ 
turned to Sweden where he was met by Eric and the 
Swedes at Lena in West Gothland in 1208. The 
two armies prepared for a bloody battle, the bloodiest 
known to Swedish history tip to this time, since the 
battle at Fyrisvall. The Danes were totally defeated 
and routed, and of the proud Danish army which had 
invaded Sweden only a few returned to Denmark— 
among whom was King Sverker himself. The banished 
King now endeavored to regain his throne by the as- 
sistance of the Pope. The powerful Pope Innocent III. 
threatened the opponents of Sverker II. with excom- 
munication. But when Sverker II. again tried the for- 
tunes of war, aud at the head of a second Danish army 
invaded West Gothland, he was defeated and fell in 
battle near Gestilren in 1210. This battle was the last 
bloody encounter between tie houses of Sverker and 

Eric Canuteson, victorious over his enemies, was 
now elected King of Sweden and ruled in peace over a 
prosperous country. He was the first of the Swedish 
Kings of whom it is positively known that he was 
crowned by a Catholic prelate. This procedure was 
meant to signify that the royal power placed itself 
under the special protection of the church. King 
Eric formed an alliance with his former enemy, V^d^ 


mar, King of Denmark, and married his sister Prin- 
cess Kikissa. His reign was short, for he died sud- 
denly on the island of Visingso in the year 1216. After 
his death a son was born to him, also called Eric, who 
ought to have been the successor to the throne, but 
the powerful spiritual and temporal lords were not 
willing to recognize the infant as King and elected the 
fifteen year old John, son of Sverker II., instead. 

King John I. the son of Sverker is usually called 
the Youth, but also the Pious on account of his sub- 
mission and great generosity to the church. The 
spiritual and temporal lords appropriated the goyeru- 
ment themselves and John I. was King in name only. 
It was principally the bishops who controlled the gov- 
ernment during his reign. Very little is known of his 
rule, except that he undertook a crusade against 
certain tribes occupying the country East of the Baltic 
known as Estland by which very little was accom- 
plished. The King left an army to protect the con- 
quered territories and returned to Sweden. Shortly 
afterwards the arniy was attacked by the natives of 
Estland and almost annihilated. The jarl and chancel- 
lor who had accompanied the King and remained in 
the country were killed. The King died suddenly on 
the island of Visingso in 1222, the last of the royal 
house of Sverker. Eric XL, the son of the former 
King, Eric, who was now six years of age and the 
only survivor of the royal house of Eric was elected to 
the throne of Sweden. He has received the appella- 
tion of the Halt and the Lisper. During his minority 
the government was conducted by his relatives and 
councillors, but without harmony. An ambitious rela- 


tive by the name of Canute the Long, Jarl of Sweden 
and married to the King's sister, raised the standard of 
revolt and defeated the royal party at Alustra in 
1229. He raised himself to the throne, which he held 
for five years, and then died. After Canute's death 
King Eric XI. returned from Denmark where he had 
taken refuge and was again elected King. He is spok- 
en of in the old annals as a just and good I'uler, but 
he was not of much account either in war or peace. 
He sought alliance with and support from the royal 
family of the Folkungers. The most powerful man at 
this time was Ulf Fasi who was in fact the actual ruler, 

Jarl Birger of the Folkungers was married to 
Princess Ingeborg, a sister of the King, and became 
the most prominent supporter of the King during his 
government as well as during the revolt led by Canute 
Long's son, Holmger. The King suppressed the re- 
bellion in 1247 and Holmger was arrested and executed 
the following year. 

A papal legate, William, Bishop of Sabina, visited 
Sweden and summoned the temporal and spiritual 
lords to a meeting at Skeninge in 1248. The most im- 
portant result of this church council was the imposi- 
tion of celibacy on the clergy, which prevented the 
priests from entering the marriage state, and separated 
them from the rest of the people, making it obligatory 
upon them to devote themselves entirely to the service 
of the church. A rule was also adopted imposing on 
the bishops the obligation of studying the canon law. 
That this order of things might gradually be intro- 
duced into the country it was further enacted by the 
papal legate that the bishops should be elected by the 


chapters of the clergy exclusively, and not be interfered 
with by the temporal powers. He further ordained 
that the priests and spiritual lords should be under no 
obligation to take the oath of allegiance to the gov- 
ernment. Through these and several other ordinances 
the hierarchy or church government was fully estab- 
lished in Sweden, and the Swedish church was regu- 
lated in conformity with the other branches of the 
Catholic church. The newly established orders of 
monks and nuns were encouraged; and the so-called 
orders of poverty, whose members did not separate 
themselves from the world like certain other orders, 
increased. They went out among the people, living 
on charity, and instructing the people in religion. These 
monks in the Northern part of Europe received their 
names from the color of their gowns and were called 
Black Friars and Gray Friars. They attained great 
influence among the common and ignorant people 
whom they instructed in a blind and submissive wor- 
ship of the church and the Pope. 

After Jarl Birger had restored order and peace 
within the kingdom, he took steps to restore Swedish 
supremacy in Finland, and to carry out the work begun 
there by St. Eric. The Swedish colony in Finland had 
suffered greatly during the many years of its abandon- 
ment. Savage hordes of Russians overran the colony 
with fire and sword, committing the most cruel out- 
rages, murdering the people and burning the villages. 
An army had been organized in Finland to meet the 
Russians but it was defeated at the river Nevi. Jarl 
Birger in the year 1249 organized an army in Sweden 
to prosecute the crusade through Finland. He pene- 


trated as far as Tavastaland and compelled its in- 
habitants to accept baptism and become Christians. 
He established colonists and erected the fortress called 
Tavastahus to protect the newly constituted colony. 
The Swedish supremacy was from this time forward 
recognized in Finland, Newland and Tavastaland. It 
was undoubtedly the intention of Birger to prosecute 
his conquests beyond Finland, but when information 
came that King Eric was dead, theJarl hastened his 
return to Sweden in 1250. 



Dynasty of St. Erie Extinct — Jarl Birger — ^^''aldemar Elected King — 
Birger Returns to Sweden — Guardian of the King — Philip and Can- 
ute Magnus Invade Sweden — Defeated — Sweden Supreme in Scandi- 
navia — Birger's Policy was Peace with Denmark and Norway — 
Alliance with Germany — The Hansa League — ^Its Commerce with 
Sweden — Foundation of Stockholm — Birger the Legislator — Laws En- 
acted — Slavery Abolished^-Birger, Sweden's First Statesman — Val- 
demar and Duke Magnus — ^Valdemar's Pilgrimage to Rome — ^Magnuj 
and the Danes Invade Sweden — ^Valdemar is Defeated — ^Magnus 
Elected King — Valdemar Escapes to Denmark — Takes Possession of 
Gothland — Magnus' Manner of Life — Influence of Foreigners — The 
King's Father-in-law Taken Prisoner — Released — Laws Protecting 
Travelers and the Public — Magnus Ladulas — Military Regulations- 
Introduction of Chivalry — Origin of the Nobility — Church Released 
from Taxation — Foreign Relations of King Magnus — Gothland Unit- 
ed with Sweden — Gothland's Commerce and Laws — Magnus' Death 
^Birger, King— Torgils Knutson — Laws Codified — ^The Pope Threat- 
' ens the Marshal — The Boundaries of Finland — Crusade — Viborg 
Fortified— Second Crusade against Russia — Carelen Incorporated 
with Sweden — Relation between Sweden, Denmark and Norway In- 
termarriage of the Royal Houses— Character of Duke Erie — The King 
and His Brothers— Rebellion of Eric and Valdemar — ^Defeated — Con- 
spiracy against the Marshal— His Trial and Execution— Second 
Rebellion of the Dukes — Pacification — The Dukes Taken Prisoners 
and Perish— The Swedes Rebel against the King— Magnus, Son oi 
Eric, King — Birger's Death. 

Jarl Birger.— When King Eric died the royal 
dynasty of St. Eric came to an end. It was therefore 
necessary to elect a new King from some other family. 

1250—1319. FOLKUNGEK DYNASTY. 147 

The most powerful man in the land at this time was 
Jarl Birger, but he was not a descendant of the royal 
house; his sons were in a different position, for their 
mother was a sister of the late King. The lords 
spiritual and temporal immediately decided upon 
Valdemar the oldest son of Birger. Joar Blue, a pow- 
erful and influential man, hastened to bring about an 
election of a King before the Jarl had a chance to re- 
turn from Finland, where he was superintending a 
crusade against the Finns and Russians, and Valdemar 
was elected King of Sweden. History relates that 
when the Jarl returned to Sweden, he was at first dis- 
satisfied with the election as he had anticipated being 
elected King himself, but at last he became pacified, 
and as his son Valdemar the King was still a child, 
Jarl Birger became in reality the King of Sweden. 

Jarl Birger's first measure as his son's guardian 
was to protect the throne against competitors and re- 
bellious subjects. Holmger's brother Philip and 
Canute Magnus of the Folkungers, who considered that 
they had a better right to the throne than King Valde- 
mar, rose in rebellion. They collected an army of for- 
eigners and invaded the country in 1251. The Jarl met 
them at Hervades Bridge in a pitched battle. He de- 
feated the foreigners and slew a large portion of them, 
took the ringleaders prisoners and put them to death. 
After this victory none dared to attack the powerful 
Jarl, and from henceforward he devoted himself undis- 
turbed to ameliorating the condition and developing 
the resources of the country. By his energetic 
measures he elevated the country to great political in- 
fluence among the foreign powers. 


Up to this time Sweden had struggled for suprem- 
acy over the other, Scandinavian kingdoms, but from 
now on she suddenly rose to a point where she exerted 
political influence and enjoyed prestige abroad. 
Birger's policy was to preserve peace and equality 
among the Northern kingdoms. He formed a close 
alliance with King Hakon the Old, of Norway. These 
wise and powerful rulers continued to live in harmony 
and ruled their respective countries on the best of 
terms. They had frequent meetings near the borders 
of their countries. When war broke out between the 
Kings of Norway and Denmark, the Jarl of Sweden ap- 
peared as mediator and endeavored to reconcile them. 
Young King Valdemar married the daughter of the 
King of Denmark, and the Jarl took as his second wife 
the Queen Dowager of that country. 

Sweden and Germany now entered into a close alli- 
ance and formed a commercial treaty. It was at this 
time that the North German cities formed the Hanseatic 
league with Lubeck as their leader. The object of this 
confederacy was to completely control the commerce 
of the Northern countries. Sweden formed a commei^- 
cial treaty with Lubeck, whereby free trade and mutual 
citizenship were granted to the respective peoples. 
But the Swedes had had too little experience in the arts 
of trade, commerce and manufactures to be able to 
turn the freedom granted them by this treaty to proper 
advantage. They did, however, derive considerable 
profit from their connection with Germany, for a great 
many Germans emigrated to Sweden and settled in the 
cities, where they engaged in mining and manufacture, 
and it was through their influence that many of the 

1250—1319. EOLKUNGER DYNASTY. 149 

cities in Sweden were organized and conducted after 
the model of those in foreign countries. The city of 
Stockholm increased rapidly in population and influ- 
ence, it was through the special care and exertion of 
Birger that this city henceforth became one of the 
greatest in the country. 

The most glorious and enduring monument 
of the administration of Jarl Birger is formed 
of the new laws which he enacted. When 
his son Valdemar married the Danish Princess, 
Birger caused a law to be passed that a wo- 
man should henceforth inherit equally with her brother 
on their father's death. Previous to this time she could 
only inherit from her parents when there was no 
brother. Jarl Birger endeavored further to check and 
control the spirit of violence, contention and dispute 
which pei*vaded the people. This he did by having 
certain laws passed called the King's peace. The previ- 
ously existing laws, which gave every man the right 
to revenge a supposed or real wrong, could not as yet 
be repealed entirely, but certain checks were placed 
upon them in so far that if any one broke the peace of 
the place where court was held, he was punished with 
banishment and the loss of all his personal property. 
Birger further prohibited the unnatural custom, still 
in vogue, of making the accused prove his innocence 
by carrying red hot iron in his hands, or walking bare- 
foot on burning coals. The Jarl also prohibited slavery, 
and emancipated those who had given themselves into 
slavery by contract or otherwise. He suppressed the 
hitherto prevailing customs which allowed poor people 
to voluntarily surrender themselves to the more 


fortunate and wealthy as slaves for debt By means of 
these benevolent laws Birger greatly improved the 
moral and spiritual condition of the Swedish people 
and brought about a new order of things in the land. 
He raised the people out of ignorance and darkness 
and lifted them to a higher standard of civilization, 
intelligence and enlightenment He is the first ruler in 
Swedish history to really deserve the name of states- 
man, and his memory will be ever cherished by a grate- 
ful people. 

Valdemar and Magnus Ladulas. — King Valdemar 
had taken no part in the government during the life- 
time of his father. He was unfit to be the ruler of a 
free people, as he was a man without ability or decision 
of character. He spent his time in diversions and 
amusements and soon lost the respect of his people. 
On the other hand Duke Magnus, his brother, had in- 
herited his father's character and qualities. He was 
wise, prudent, cautious, energetic, and active, in addi- 
tion to being ambitious and desirous of gaining power 
and influence. King Valdemar feeling jealous of the in- 
creasing power and popularity of his brother, the Duke, 
sought to injure him by forming an alliance with King 
Magnus Lagebote of Norway, who was married to a. 
sister of the Queen of Sweden. 

King Valdemar made a pilgrimage to Rome, and 
after his return to Sweden the smoldering animosity 
between the brothers broke out in full flame. Duke 
Magnus and his younger brother went to Denmark 
where they received assistance of King Eric Glipping, 
They returned during the year 1275 at the head of a 
well-equipped army principally composed of cavalry, 

125u— 1319. FOLKUNGER DYNASTY. 151 

landed on the Western coast of Sweden, and penetrated 
through West Gothland. They met the royal Swedish 
army at the large forest called Tiveden. King Valde- 
mar with his best troops was stationed to the North of 
the forest, when a swift messenger arrived and an- 
nounced that the vanguard of his army, composed main- 
ly of peasants, had been attacked by the army of his 
brother Magnus and completely routed at a place called 
Hafra. King Valdemar on hearing this news lost all 
control of himself, abandoned his army and fled in a 
state of panic without wa;iting for further confirma- 
tion of this unexpected intelligence. He was pursued, 
overtaken, and made prisoner. His brother Magnus, 
who had thus won an easy victory, was elected and 
heralded King at the Ting of Mora the same year by 
the Upland Swedes. Valdemar, when released from 
prison shortly afterwards, did not long maintain a 
peaceful attitude toward his brother, the newly chosen 
King of the Swedes. The next year he left Sweden 
with a certain following and visited King Magnus to 
invoke his assistance against his brother. The Nor- 
wegian King being peaceably disposed was unwilling 
to commence war on his neighbor and endeavored by 
pacific means to bring about a settlement between 
the brothers. This did not suit Valdemar, so he aban- 
doned the Norwegian court and departed for Denmark. 
King Eric of Denmark and Magnus of Sweden were 
not on friendly terms. Eric now had a good pretext 
for war, and at the head of a Danish army Valdemar 
invaded Gothland. Magnus met hiin with his Swedes. 
An indecisive battle was fought in which neither was 
victorious. After some negotiations it was agreed that 


Valdemar should hold Gothland and collect the reven- 
ues. Both parties violated the agreements and Valde- 
mar was forced to retire to his own estates, there to 
remain in peace and quiet. 

Magnus after this treaty assumed the title of "King 
of the Swedes and Goths" which since that day has 
been the title of the Swedish Kings. 

Internal political disturbances broke out afresh in 
the country. King Magnus was a lover of pomp and 
ceremonies. He kept a brilliant court and spent the 
revenues of the country in festivities, tournaments, 
and shows. His extravagant tendencies were greatly 
increased by his marriage with a daughter of the Duke 
of Holstein, the beautiful Helvig. He showed favor- 
itism towards the foreign nobility, many of whom 
visited his court and whom he preferred to the Swedish 
nobles. The latter, thus placed in the background, 
became exasperated, dissatisfied and jealous, and sev- 
eral of them conspired together to put an end to the in- 
fluence of these foreigners. 

When the King's father-in-law visited Sweden and 
met the King of Sweden at the royal Castle, near the 
city of Skara, the conspirators appeared at the Castle, 
murdered one of the foreign favorites of the King, took 
his father-in-law prisoner, and removed him to a dist- 
ant part of the country. The King concealed ihis anger 
until his father-in-law had been set at liberty. He 
pretended to forgive the conspirators and made them 
believe that everything was forgotten; then he invited 
them to a great festival at the Castle where they had 
previously appeared and taken his father-in-law pris- 
oner and committed their murderous acts. In the 

1250—1319. FOLKUNGER DYNASTY. 153 

midst of the festivities the King caused the conspir- 
ators to be arrested, tried and executed for an act of 
treason. Among these conspirators was one of the 
most powerful of the nobles, the wealthy and most 
influential Folkunger John Phillipson. These events 
took place in 1280. 

Through these and many other stringent acts the 
King was enabled to keep the restless and unruly no- 
bility under control. He endeavored further by wise 
laws to pursue a peaceful policy and establish order 
within his domains, thus pursuing successfully the 
work which his father -had commenced. In the year 
1280 the King called the most influential members of 
the nobility and clergy to a Eiksdag at Alsno, where 
a law was passed prohibiting the outrages which had 
hitherto been committed against the bondes by travel- 
ers, who forcibly and with violence took possession of 
whatever they wanted in the way of food and accom- 
modation for themselves and their numierous attend- 
ants and horses without paying for it. It was decreed 
that in every village a certain hotel keeper should be 
appointed whose duty it was to supply the traveling 
public with food and shelter for a reasonable compen- 
sation. To the concern which the King exhibited for 
the welfare and happiness of the bondes and the yeo- 
manry he owes th'e beautiful name which was applied 
to him, namely Ladulas, which means, barnlock; for 
the common people considered this law and the King's 
concern for their welfare as a lock to their barns. 
About the same time King Magnus confirmed the laws 
already passed during the lifetime of his father; and 
he also added other statutes appropriate to the condi- 


tion of his people at the time. The rojal prerogatives 
were greatly extended during his reign, and he exerted 
greater iniiuence in every direction in his dominion 
than any King prior to his time had done. During a 
Itiksdag held in 1285 kt Skeninge he asserted for him- 
self and his Council the right to pass appropriate laws 
in case's where the old provincial laws had made no 
provision.. At the same Riksdag a law was passed 
prohibiting the greater nobility from organizing into 
secret societies, and no one was permitted to attend 
the King's Council except he was specially summoned 
for that purpose by royal mandate. 

The most important of the laws and regulations 
enacted during the reign of this King was that which 
concerned the military regulations of his people in re- 
lation to cavalry service; for the ancient military obli- 
gations in the North related principally to naval war- 

During these times the armies of the other Eul-o- 

pean powers had developed new tactics based chiefly, 
upon the existence of a well equipped cavalry since 
an army of infantry, as they were then organized and 
equipped, could hardly resist the attack of steel-clad 
cavalry maJiing sudden charges in solid columns and 
armed with long lances. Magnus had during his wars 
found out the value of these new tactics; he therefore 
prepared to establish a similar cavalry service in his 
own country, selecting for this purpose in the first 
instance those of his immediate entourage, whom he 
also freed from liability to taxation; but as he found 
that he had need of still more men and horses, it was 
ordained by the Riksdag of Alsno that all who would 
undertake to support a cavalryman and horse, that is 

1250—1319. FOLKUNGER DYNASTY. 155 

those who were willing to serve the King on horse- 
back, should enjoy the privilege of freemen and should 
be free in respect of themselves and of their landed es- 
tate. This was the origin of the "Adliga fralset," the 
privileges of the nobility. Whereas formerly every 
bonde and landholder had been a warrior, military 
service now became a profession. This new cavalry 
became henceforth a separate class of soldiers, further- 
more a class which enjoyed freedom from taxation and 
other privileges; it is therefore not astounding that this 
free estate began soon to consider itself superior to the 
large mass of the tax-paying community who were 
called tax-payers. Those families who had for several 
generations fulfilled such military service began soon 
to consider this freedom from taxes and other privi- 
leges as a right of inheritance, and thus the foundation 
was laid for a heritable nobility. About this time the 
order of chivalry was introduced into Sweden; the 
most distinguished and wealthy in the mounted service 
were called cavaliers and rose to pre-eminence among 
the privileged classes; they were known as "Lords" 
and permitted to wear golden spurs ; they were appoint- 
ed and dubbed knights by the King with great pomp 
and ceremony; they were also decorated and obliged 
to take oath that they would always conduct them- 
selves as became true Christian knights. There was 
in addition a lower degree next to this class of knights, 
the members of which were called "Esquires." King 
Magnus intended in this manner to give more brillian- 
cy to his court and greater, strength to his army; he 
adopted many of the foreign customs and called his 
knights together for practice drill and exercises and 


Although the King surrounded himself with every 
kind of worldly pomp, he was nevertheless a good 
Christian and very generous towards the church and 
the priesthood; he granted freedom from taxation to 
the Church, not only in respect of the property then 
owned by her, but also in respect of that which she 
might acquire in the future. His generosity also found- 
ed several new monasteries, while he showed special 
favor to the Franciscan friars. 

In his foreign relations King Magnus pursued the 
wise policy which his father had initiated. Sweden 
began to be a stronger power in the North and in con- 
sequence of her continued peace, harmony, and wise 
administration, was frequently called upon to settle 
disputes between ber neighbors. The great respect 
which was shown toward Magnus brought about the 
result that the Island of Gothland, which up to this 
time had been semi-independent, voluntarily formed a 
permanent union with and became incorporated as a 
province of Sweden. Gothland had ever since the 
times of the Vikings been a center for the commerce 
of the Baltic and of the surrounding countries, and 
her merchants had thus accumulated enormous wealth. 
The city of Visby was the most prominent commercial 
city of the North at that time and a member of the 
Hanseatic league, and German merchants resided there. 
The mercantile community oppressed the peasants on 
the island and they, after submitting to many outrages, 
rose in rebellion in order to vindicate their rights and 
privileges. King Magnus found it incumbent upon 
him to settle the dispute between them, which he did 
by compelling the merchants to pay a heavy fine. 

1250—1319. FOLKUNGEE DYNASTY. 157 

The Island of Gothland is a Swedish province, and 
is a midway station between the Swedish mainland and 
the European continent. The city of Visby, which 
is located on the Western coast of the island, possesses 
a fine harbor, and during the early and middle ages led 
a flourishing existence, until July, 1361, when it was 
assaulted and stormed by Valdemar Atterdag of Den- 
mark, who took away as much treasure and movable 
property as his ships could carry off. The many ruins 
of churches and cathedrals, buildings and fortifica- 
tions of the city and suburbs, testify to the former* 
opulence of the place. 

The most enduring monument of this Swedish and 
Gothic city is its "Sjoratt" — Maritime law — upon 
which as a foundation the Maritime laws of the civil- 
ized nations have since been constructed. Parsons, in 
his work on Maritime laws, compares this Visby law 
with that of Oleron. The former by its internal evi- 
dence is undoubtedly the oldest, having grown up with 
the city during pagan times. 

The people who enacted this law had attained a. 
high degree of civilization, so that this code covers a 
wide range and deals with many subjects. Its 66 chap- 
ters embrace all the details pertaining to the laws of 
shipping, and in concise and expressive language lay 
down rules and regulations for the merchant, the cap- 
tain and the sailor, which range from the wages and 
daily care of the latter, on the one hand, to the dispo- 
sition of the cargo and vessel, if in distress, on the 

The municipal code of the city called Visby's "Stads- 
lag" is a model of its kind. It is divided into four 


books and 237 chapters. The great Swedish scholar 
and philologist, Dr. C. J. Schlyter, published these 
Codes in 1853, containing five different codices, and a 
modern Swedish version, with a glossary in Swedish 
and Latin. 

In order to make the sovereignty hereditary in his 
own family King Magnus caused his oldest son Birger 
to be proclaimed successor to the throne, and his own 
brother Valdemar to be imprisoned at the castle of 
Linkoping, where the dethroned monarch remained 
until his death in 1302. King Magnus had previously 
died, in the year 1290, sincerely mourned by his people, 
and left surviving his three minor sons, Birger, who 
succeeded him on the throne, and the Dukes Eric and 

King Birger, His Brothers and Torgils Knutson 
(1290 — 1319). — King Magnus had on his death bed ap- 
pointed the brave and eminent statesman, Torgils, 
marshal of the realm, guardian of his sons and regent 
during their minority; and he proved himself to be 
worthy of the confidence which the King had placed in 
him. From his post at the helm of the state he admin- 
istered the government steadfastly, conscientiously, 
and unselfishly, evincing the same spirit which the late 
King Magnus Ladulas and Birger Jarl had shown 
before him, so that it can be said that during the time 
these three rulers were in power Sweden enjoyed 
more happiness and prosperity than at any other period 
during the middle ages. 

The marshal Torgils Knutson continued the revision 
and codification of the laWs of Sweden which his pre- 
decessors had begun, Previous to this time the West 

] -200—1319. FOLKUNGER DYNASTY. 159 

Goths had compiled their own provincial laws; the 
East Goths had done the same; and now three other 
provinces also determined to revise and compile their 
laws; this was done under the superintendence of Bir- 
ger Person of Finsta, Lawman of Tiundaland, assist- 
ed by the most learned and intellectual men of the 
province; the law of Upland was revised and adopted 
by the Landsting and received royal sanction in the 
year 1296. Although Marshal Torgils belonged to the 
most artistocratic and privileged class, he nevertheless 
understood and valued the importance of upholding the 
royal power and authority and making the wealthy 
and powerful nobles of the country bow to it He 
took up the same position in defending the rights of 
the crown against the ecclesiastical power, and, by so 
doing, angered Pope Bonifacius VIII., who threat- 
ened him with excommunication; but the papal 
threats did not at this time have the same influence 
over the people as formerly, and did not frighten the 
powerful marshal. 

The administration of Torgils Knutson was also dis- 
tinguished by military achievements, for he finished 
the war which Eric, called the Saint, and Birger Jarl 
had commenced. He extended the eastern boundaries 
of Sweden, and caused the gospel to be preached among 
the christianized inhabitants of Finland. During hisi 
first crusade in Finland in the year 1293 he directed his 
army against the wild and savage inhabitants of Oare- 
len ; he built on their coasts a strong fortification called 
Viborg and conquered the larger portion of the dis- 
trict; but when the Russians tried to prevent the 
Swedes from advancing further the marshal turned bis 


arms against them, the Kussian free state Great Nov- 
gorod being at this time tlie nearest neighbor to Swed- 
en on the East During his second crusade the marshal 
penetrated as far as the rivers Ladoga and Narva; but 
these gains were soon after lost, Sweden, however, re- 
taining Carelen. During these times many Swedes 
emigrated and settled in the eastern portion of Fin- 

With the neighboring kingdoms of Denmark and 
Norway Torgils Knutson continued at peace and did 
not mix himself up in the bloody wars which continued 
to harass and annoy them. Sweden maintained a 
friendly relation with Denmark in consequence of the 
double family relations which existed between the two 
royal families. Ingeborg, the daughter of King Mag- 
nus, was married to King Eric Menved of Denmark, 
and the young King of Sweden was married to Mar- 
garet e, the daughter of the Danish King. In the year 
1.295 King Birger of Sweden came of age, but the mar- 
shal nevertheless continued to be his most trusted 
councillor and adviser. 

Duke Eric, the second son of King Magnus Ladulas, 
was the most talented of the three. He was in all things 
an accomplished knight, was friendly and popular, but 
at the time a great conspirator; in fact all three broth- 
ers were unreliable and lacking in moral character. 
It was not long before a bright opportunity came to 
the ambitious Duke Eric, when he was engaged to be 
married to the two year old Ingeborg, daughter of 
King Hakon and heir apparent to the crown of Nor- 
way. Shortly afterwards the Dukes came into posses- 
sion of their provinces, Eric receiving the province of 

1250—1319. FOLKUNGER DYNASTY. 161 

Sodermanland and Valdemar coming into possession 
of Finland. But harmony did not reign long between 
the brothers; the Dukes took up independent attitudes, 
declined to obey the King, and finally left the country 
in order to seek assistance against their brother. King 
Hakon of Norway espoused their cause and surren- 
dered possession of the citadel and town of Konghalls 
to his intended son-in-law. From this fortress the 
Dukes invaded West Gothland and took possession of 
the Province of Dal, but when King Birger and the 
marshal attacked them at the head of a large armj' 
they were compelled to sue for peace and promise again 
to be faithful. Peace was concluded between the three 
brothers at a meeting held near the mouth of the river 
Gota; the Dukes thereupon received back their prov- 
inces; at the same time King Hakon of Norway sur- 
rendered to them the Northern portion of Halland. 
which he had conquered during his war with Denmark. 
The Dukes became thoroughly convinced that they 
would not be successful in accomplishing their ambi- 
tious designs so long as Marshal Torgils remained the 
principal adviser of the King, and so they d.etermined, 
if possible, to ruin him. After ingratiating themselves 
with the King they succeeded in making him believe 
that it was the marshal who had caused all the dispute 
and trouble between the brothers. Torgils Knutson, 
an honorable and upright man, not knowing anything 
of their vile designs, was at this time living on his es- 
tate of Lena in West Gothland, when the three brothers 
with their suites came upon him suddenly and arrested 
him. After tying him by the feet to a horse they 
dragged him to Stockholm where he was condemned to 


death, by the King and beheaded in the year 1306. 
This cruel and outrageous conduct on the part of the 
King is the blackest spot on his memory and shows 
him to have been a man without principle and charac- 
ter; nor did his perfidy continue long unpunished. 
Scarcely had the Dukes obtained a free hand through 
the death of Torgils when they threw off the mask, and 
the same year paid what they pretended was a friend- 
ly visit to the King at his palace at Hatuna, where he 
was unprotected; and suddenly attacking him with 
their companions, took him and his family prisoners. 
It was then not long before they were enabled to seize 
the goA^ernm'ent and become masters of the kingdom. 
At the time the Dukes made the attack on King Bir- 
ger and took him prisoner, a faithful servant of his 
succeeded in taking the King's oldest son Magnus and 
escaping with him to his uncle, Eric Menved, King of 
Denmark. The Danish King hastened to make ready 
his army and determined to assist his son-in-law, King 
Birger, and thus a war broke out between Denmark 
and Sweden. In the meantime the imprisoned King 
Birger had been persuaded to enter into a negotiation 
and treaty, in which he promised to be satisfied with 
such parts of the kingdom as his brothers were willing 
to assign to him; scarcely, however, had he been freed 
from his imprisonment than he fled to Denmark. Af- 
fairs took an unexpected turn when King Hakon of Nor- 
way, dissatisfied with his intended son-in-law, broke off 
relations with him and joined his enemies; and the 
position of the Dukes became desperate when all three 
Northern Kings joined hands and marched against 
them, both from Norway and Denmark; but Eric went 

X2.')(i— 1319. FOLKUNGER DYNASTY. 163 

to work and made extensive preparations and conduct- 
ed negotiations so skilfully that their affairs were final- 
ly settled to the advantage of the Dukes. The war 
was brought to an end and peace concluded at the sev- 
eral meetings of the Kings and Dukes held at the City 
of Helsingborg during the years 1310 — 1313. 

King Birger received as his share about one third 
of Sweden, and all other points in dispute between the 
Northern kingdoms were settled at the same time. 

Peace now prevailed for a short time in Sweden 
and the other Northern kingdoms, but it was not on 
that account a happy and prosperous time; for the 
kingdom of Sweden was divided between three rulers 
who spent the resources of the country in a life of lux- 
ury, wasting the substance of their subjects whom 
they taxed indiscriminately. Other misfortunes were 
added; famine and pestilence visited the country, and 
the people became so dissatisfied with their rulers that 
they finally rose in rebellion against their oppression. 
Duke Eric was the most powerful of the three broth- 
ers and ruled over a portion of the country adjoining 
those portions of Norway and Denmark which are 
called West Gothland, Dal, and Vermland, the North- 
ern part of Halland and Konghall. His young son 
Magnus was heir apparent to the throne of Norway, 
and it appeared to him not a difficult task to eject his 
weak-minded brother from the throne of Sweden. Even 
in Denmark he succeeed in attaching a large portion of 
the populace to his cause, but these ambitious designs 
were suddenly checked by a new fraud which sur- 
passed all previous faithlessness. King Birger, who 
had been continually thrown into the shade by his 


brothers, nursed a bitter hatred against them and en- 
deavored to find an opportunity for revenge. Such an 
opportunity presented itself in the year 1317 when 
by many demonstrations of friendliness he induced 
both his brothers to visit him at his castle Nykoping, 
where he showed them every attention and by many 
flattering words and acts of friendship threw them off 
their guard. One evening he had prepared a great 
feast for them, and after the festivities were over they 
■ were conducted into private chambers and went to rest 
in the castle; but in the middle of the night the King's 
supporters and guards broke open the door leading 
into their rooms, arrested them, chained them and 
threw them into the prison tower. King Birger was 
beside himself with joy over the happy termination of 
this undertaking, the devising of which was ascribed to 
the Queen and the chancellor, John Brunke; and this 
disgraceful and outrageous act of treachery became 
known as "The festival of Nykoping" and served to 
balance that which the Dukes had practiced on the 
King and his family shortly before at Hatuna. 

Birger supposed that he was now sole ruler over 
Sweden and that he was confirmed in his regal power"; 
but his action was followed by results which he had not 
anticipated, as all over the country the people rose 
in rebellion and the friends of the Dukes hastened to 
deliver them. 

The Dukes continued prisoners for about six months 
and finally, when the King fled from Nykoping, 
perished in prison in the year 1318, supposedly of 
starvation. Their hapless fate still more exasperated 
the friends of the Dukes; Nykoping was attacked and 

1250—1319. FOLKUNGER DYNASTY. 165 

taken; Birger's young son Magnus, who with, the as- 
sistance of Danish troops was defending the castle of 
Stegeborg, finally surrendered; the chancellor Brunke 
was taken prisoner and executed, and King Birger was 
at last compelled to flee and seek refuge in Denmark. 
The wealthy and prominent lords of the realm 
elected as chief marshal of the kingdom the 
brave and renowned Matts Kettilmundson who 
afterwards with an army invaded Scania and 
compelled the Danish King Eric to abandon the 
cause of Birger. Eepresentatives from all the dif- 
ferent provinces of Sweden met in the following year 
at Mora and elected the three year old Magnus Ericson, 
Duke Eric's only son, to succeed King Birger. A short 
time previously King Hakon of Denmark had died, and 
as young Magnus Ericson was his next heir he was 
also elected king of Norway. But the unfortunate and 
imprisoned Magnus, son of King Birger, although he 
had committed no wrong was, according to the decision 
of the Council of State, condemned and executed — a 
sacrifice for the wickedness of his father and for the 
safety of the country. The news of his son's death 
hastened the death of the already broken down King 
Birger, which occurred in the year 1321. 




Swedish Government Has Become an Oligarchy — Calmar Union — Sweden 
and Norway United— King Magnus — Countries Governed by Coun- 
cil — ^Ingeborg and Porse — Grandees Meeting at Skara — Chancellor 
Blue — Norwegians Act in Self-Deftnce — War between Sweden and 
Russia Ended — Carelen — Finland and Savolak Swedish Provinces- 
Settlement and Improvement of Finland — ^Arrogance of the Grandees 
— King Magnus » Weak Prince — Denmark Near Dissolution — Dutch 
Influence in the North — Treaty Concerning Scania^ — Hakon King of 
Norway — ^Magnus Improves on the Laws of Sweden — Lands Law — 
Stads Law — St. Birgitta- — Magnus at War with Russia — Black Death 
— Dissatisfaction among all Classes — Magnus and Eric — ^Valdemar of 
Denmark and Albert of Meeklenberg Invade Sweden — ^Lords De- 
throne Magnus — His Son, Hakon, King — Albert Chosen King — 
Stockholm Captured — Civil War — Departure of Magnus and Hakon 
— Bondes Rise against the Nobles — A Compromise — Albert, King of 
Sweden — German Influence — Grip Chancellor — Discords and Violence 
— Valdemar's Death — Olaf, King in Denmark — Margaret, Ruler— 
Pretentions to the Swedish Crown — Olafs Death — Margaret Elect- 
ed Queen — Albert and His Germans Defeated and Driven from the 

This period may properly be called tlie time of 
oligarchy, but it is also called the period of the "Cal- 
mar Union," a Union between the three Scandinavian 
kingdoms. Durin<? this era the wealthy or aristo- 
cratic landholders absorbed the greater portion of 
the governing power, setting the royal prerogative 
as well as the liberty of the people at naught. The 

1319—1388. CALMAE UNION. 167 

Union between the three Northern kingdoms which 
was accomplished during the reign of Queen Margaret 
was taken advantage of by the Kings as well as by 
the lords of the realm at the expense of the people's 
liberty; but at last the Swedes, imbued with patriotic 
spirit, threw ofE the yoke, and a revolution was finally 
accomplished. Through the frequent changes of 
Kings the people were aroused to a sense of their op- 
pression and asserted their right to political freedom 
and secured it. In Denmark, however, political liberty 
was entirely suppressed. Norway on the other hand 
became a province of Denmark and thus lost her in- 

In the year 1319 Sweden and Norway were for the 
first time united under one King, the three year old 
Magnus Ericson, yet this bond of union was loose and 
undefined; the two kingdoms had nothing in common, 
neither sharing the same laws nor espousing the same 
quarrels, they had simply one and the same King. 
During the minority of the King the respective king- 
doms were governed by their own Councils of state. 
The Duchess Ingeborg and her favorite, the Danish 
nobleman Knut Porse, caused constant trouble to the 
governments on account of her being the mother of 
the young King and influencing his actions. In order to 
put an end to this constant trauble thirty-five of the 
spiritual and temporal lords met at the City of Skara 
in 1322 and formed a compact whereby they bound 
themselves to faithfully resist all increases of power 
on the part of the Duchess and her favorites. The 
office of chancellor of state was given to Knut John- 
son Blue who also became the most notable man in 


the government of Sweden; the several chiefs of Nor- 
way followed the same example and repelled all ad- 
vances of the Duchess and elected a special adminis- 
trator. Knut Porse after several years of intrigues 
and disputes with those in power was compelled to 
leave the country and retire to Denmark where he 
afterwards married the Duchess. 

War between Sweden and the republic of Nov- 
gorod, which, with the exception of a few intervals, 
had been carried on from time of Torgils Knutson, was 
finally terminated in the year 1323 by the peace of 
Noteborg, when Western Carelen and Savolak were 
incorporated with Sweden and the boundary between 
the two kingdoms was defined. This the first treaty 
of peace definitely known to history was made and 
entered into between Sweden and Kussia, and through 
it Finland was for the future secured to Sweden, be- 
coming henceforward more closely united to her new 
rulers, not through conquest and violence but partljj 
by the settlement of large numbers of Swedish people 
on her soil and partly by the use of the same language, 
customs and civilization. The Finns were greatly 
benefited by the Union with Sweden which gave them 
politicar liberty, enlightenment and education; on the 
other hand the Finns living in Bstland and Livonia, 
who had been conquered by the German knights, were 
reduced to a condition very like slavery by the Ger- 
man nobility. The Lapps also, who were living in the 
Northern part of Sweden, at this time submitted to 
the rule of Sweden and began to pay taxes to the 
Swedish King. The Swedish people too began to 
establish settlements further North, and the country 

1319—1388. CALMAR UNION. 169 

developed rapidly in districts which had up to this 
time been covered with forests. 

It is natural that a government which had been 
for so many years in the hands of the guardians of 
the young King should have added to the power of 
the wealthy and independent nobility while tending to 
reduce the royal prerogative; and henceforth a small 
number of rich and influential nobles usurped the 
power of government and the King became hardly 
more than a figure-head. This many-headed oligarchy 
governing during the period of the King's minority 
was not able to keep order within the country and 
to- administer justice according to the laws of the 
land. Many of the nobility traveled through the 
country like common marauders with followers 
armed to the teeth, robbing and plundering the village 
communities. The property of the crown was wasted 
and misappropriated, and when the young King came 
of age and took charge of affairs in the year 1332 
there were no funds in the treasury and the crown was 
heavily in debt. 

King Magnus was not a man fitted to govern two 
kingdoms of such diverse interests during these un- 
fortunate and rebellious times. He was a man of good 
character, who meant well and endeavored to rule his 
kingdoms for the benefit of his people, but he lacked 
the power and character to bring his recalcitrant sub- 
jects into submission. However, when he commenced 
his reign after coming of age, the future appeared 
bright and his subjects were hopeful of prosperity. 
The Danish kingdom was at this time, on the point 
of dissolution, divided as it was between a few of the 
wealthy nobility and oppressed by the Dutch who had 


settled in the kingdom in large numbers. Scania, 
which had been turned over to Duke John of Holstein 
as security for a loan, finally rebelled against her op- 
pressors, the people of the province rising to a man 
and driving the Dutch out of the country, whereupon 
they placed themselves under the rule of Sweden. 
King Magnus accepted their allegiance and in 1332 was 
elected King of Scania and Bleking. The Duke of 
Holstein in the end voluntarily ceded the two provinces 
in return for a large sum of money. Afterwards, 
when King Valdemar Atterdag ascended the throne 
of Denmark, he confirmed the cession of the provinces 
of Scania and Bleking and also handed over the 
province of Halland. The sum paid for the three prov- 
inces amounted to about one and a half million 
crowns; at that time, this large, sum of money could 
not be raised in the country but had to be ob- 
tained by means of loans for which ample securities 
were demanded ; so the King and his government were 
in a state of financial embarrassment during his whole 
reign, and the internal condition and prosperity of 
his country did not correspond with the outward ap- 
pearance of greatness of King Magnus. Other 
troubles arose when the Norwegians became dissatis- 
fied with his government and desired to dissolve the 
union; and it is true that as King Magnus seldom 
visited Norway her government was neglected. The 
King was finally compelled to yield to the wishes of 
the Norwegian government, and at a meeting of the 
most powerful Norwegians in Varberg in 1343 
abdicated the crown. Hakon, the younger son of King 
Magnus, was, however, to be allowed to continue his 
rule over Norway until the ;^ear 1355; his older son 

1319—1388. CALMAR UNION. 171 

Eric was elected successor to the throne of Sweden, 
and now it appeared as if the union between Sweden 
and Norway had been settled for the future. 

The internal government of King Magnus is re- 
markable for many great improvements in* the admin- 
istration of justice and for the adoption of new laws 
looking to the welfare of his people. The many acts 
of violence committed by the strong and wealthy aristo- 
cracy and other marauders against the common people 
were punished with severe penalties, and when Mag- 
nus in the year 1335 traveled his Eric- gate he passed 
the law of emancipation which put an end to serfdom 
in Sweden, a condition which had existed in certain 
districts up to this time. The administration of justice 
was improved by the organization of a supreme court 
and other inferior courts of judicature. The provinces 
of Norrland and Finland were settled. Land was 
cleared and cultivated, and mining and other manufac- 
turing interests were encouraged. But the most not- 
able of all King Magnus's many internal improvements 
was the bestowal upon Sweden of a common and genr 
eral law. Hitherto the different provinces had had 
their own provincial laws, and these were now by his 
foresight revised, modified and improved until one law 
became applicable to the whole of the country. Dat- 
ing from the time of Birger Jarl, many special 
statutes had been passed applicable to the whole king- 
dom, but now for the first time was the whole of the 
civil code adapted and applied to all the provinces. A 
commission had been appointed to revise and codify 
the laws of the different provinces, and when this code 
had been drafted in 1247 it was examined and gradu- 


ally adopted by them. It is known by the name of the 
general Lands-law of Magnus Ericson. A commission 
was appointed at the same time to prepare a civil code 
applicable to the cities as commercial- communities, 
called Magnus Ericson's Stads-law. 

For the period in which he lived, Magnus Ericson 
was an intelligent, well educated, and good Prince; 
influenced by his Queen, Blanche of Namar, he encour- 
aged the cultivation of letters, fine arts, refinement, 
and higher civilization; but at the same time extrav- 
agance and vanity followed in their track. It was at 
this time that Saint Birgitta, one of the Saints of 
Sweden, a daughter of the wealthy Birger Person of 
Finsta and a relative of the King, began to exert her 
pious influence to uplift the moral character of the 
country. As she was a power in Sweden because of 
her piety, learning, and prophetic inspiration she en- 
deavored by counsel and writings to give advice to 
the rulers and to lead them and direct them in better 
paths; she also made several pilgrimages to the holy 
land and to Home which she made her abode for 
several years, and where she finally died in the year 

King Magnus after years of untroubled rule and 
though surrounded by peaceful neighbors now became 
anxious for martial renown, although he lacked the 
ability and skill to conduct a war successfully; so he 
declared war against Kussia and in person led his 
troops against that country on two different occasions 
without reaping any advantage or glory; these un- 
fortunate wars lowered his popularity while they in- 
creased his former indebtedness, On the top of all the 

131!)— 1388. CALMAR UNION. 173 

other "misfoi-tunes which at this time visited the North, 
came the terrible pestilence which is known by the 
name of "The Black Death." It came from Asia and 
spread over the whole of Europe. In Sweden it was 
called "Diger Death." In Norway it was known by the 
name of "The Great Men Death." The contagion was 
brought by certain trading vessels to Denmark and 
Norway and it spread with great rapidity from these 
two kingdoms to Sweden where it raged during the 
year 1350; it is estimated that in the North more than 
two-thirds of the inhabitants died of it and in many 
villages nearly all the inhabitants perished, so that 
many villages and parishes became depopulated. 

On account of these misfortunes and the hard times 
which prevailed all over the country, great and general 
disloyalty was manifested towards the government of 
the King and towards his person. The lords, who had 
hitherto been accustomed without restraint to con- 
duct themselves as they pleased, became exceedingly 
bitter against the King on account of his endeavor to 
curb their violence and arbitrary conduct. An opposi- 
tion party sprang into life and did everything to spread 
false reports abroad and to misrepresent the King as 
well as the morals and the conduct of the royal family. 
King Magnus' greatest fault was that he was easily 
niisled by his favorites; time after time he was de- 
ceived by his treacherous brother-in-law Albert of 
Mecklenburg and by his neighbor, the King of Den- 
mark. The King's greatest favorite was a certain 
Bengt Algotson, whom the King elevated to the rank 
of Duke of Finland and Hall and, and who obtained un- 
bounded influence over him, Eric, the successor to the 


throne, became jealous of this royal favorite; the lords 
did all in their power to inflame his jealousy and in 
1356 Eric joined forces with Duke Albert and rose in 
rebellion against his father, whereupon King Magnus 
submitted and ceded to King Eric the South Eastern 
portion of Sweden in addition to Finland, and there- 
upon he banished the favorite Bengt Algotson. The 
unscrupulous Valdemar of Denmark, who had former- 
ly encouraged the rebellion of Eric against his father, 
now pretended to feel sympathy for King Magnus, and 
thus endeavored to get possession of the province of 
Scania; but King Magnus made peace with his son 
and they united to repel the invasion of Valdemar. 
Before long the young King Eric and his Queen died 
of the plague, and Magnus became sole King of Swed- 
en in the year 1359. 

King Valdemar of Denmark and Albert of Meck- 
lenberg entered into an alliance and suddenly without 
warning invaded Sweden and by fraud and violence 
took possession of the provinces of Scania, Bleking, 
and Southern Halland which thus were united to Den- 
mark in the year 1360. Magnus, abandoned by the 
lords and threatened by the Pope with excommunica- 
tion, could not withstand Valdemar, who during this 
and the following year assailed and invaded Gothland 
and plundered the rich city of Visby. The lords and 
influential people of Sweden all threw the blame on 
the King, although they had done nothing to assist 
him in struggling against the misfortunes which had 
befallen his kingdom; they met in council, dethroned 
him, and declared his younger son, King Hakon of Nor- 
way, King of Sweden also, in the year 1362. King Hakon 
Uowever, refusing to lift a hand against his father 

1319—1388. CALMAR UNION. 175 

supported him as joint ruler, and the two Kings there- 
upon united their strength to overthrow the rebellious 
nobles. In order to accomplish this with success they 
saw no other means than to enter into an alliance with 
their former enemy King Valdemar of Denmark. 
The lords had selected a young Princess to be the Queen 
of King Hakon; but he declined to abide by their 
choice and selected Margaret, the eleven year old 
daughter of King Valdemar, hoping thereby to be 
able to regain possession of the lost provinces. King 
Hakon, by taking these steps, had completely aroused 
the dissatisfied Swedish nobles. These, who had for 
some time been in conspiracy with King Magnus' 
faithless brother-in-law, Albert of Mecklenberg, of- 
fered the Swedish crown to his second son Albert. 
The proposition was accepted and supported by several 
of the German Princes, and the unsuspecting King 
was suddenly attacked in the year 1363. The Oity of 
Stockholm was seized without opposition and Albert 
was proclaimed King of Sweden at the Ting on the 
Mora plain in the same year. 

Albert, Hakon and Margaret. — A civil war broke 
out between the different parties in the year 1363, 
which continued, a few short intervals excepted, for 
the space of eight years. The two opposing armies 
met near the City of Enkoping in the summer of 1365. 
The army of Magnus and Hakon was routed, Magnus 
being taken prisoner in the battle and conveyed to the 
citadel at Stockholm. Hakon continued nevertheless 
to rule over Norway and several adjacent provinces 
of Sweden. His father-in-law. King Valdemar, seized 
the Northern part of the province of Halland and Goth- 
land, the island in the Baltic, for the purpose, as he 


pepresented, of assisting his son-in-law, Hakon, but 
in reality for his own benefit The German settlers 
continued to oppress the Swedish people who, finally 
becoming exasperated, rose in rebellion against them. 
The Bohdes of Svealand issued a proclamation to the 
inhabitants of the Southern parts of Sweden calling 
upon them to rise as one man and make an end of the 
tyrannical oppression of the foreigners and to install 
the good and honorable Lord Magnus as King upon 
their throne. King Hakon of Norway took advantage 
of thi,s popular rising and advanced with an army as 
far as Stockholm, which he besieged from the North- 
ern part of the city; this doubtless would have 
terminated the rule of King Albert had not the Swed- 
ish nobility of both parties closed the civil war by a 
formal declaration of peace at the expense of both 
the Kings. Albert was declared King of Sweden, but 
he was compelled to sign a declaration "Konungafor- 
sakran" that he would in all things abide by the advice 
of the Council of State, which should have power to 
dispose at its will of all fortifications and other prop- 
erty of the crown, and also to appoint members to 
fill vacancies in their ranks. This is the first declara- 
tion of fealty by the King to the people in Swedish 
history. Hakon and Magnus were compelled to agree 
to this peace on very unfavorable terms. Magnus was 
released from imprisonment but was compelled to pay 
a large sum of money as ransom and to acknowledge 
Albert as the King of Sweden. This peace brought 
about a dissolution of the union between Sweden and 
Norway. Magnus lived Math his son a few years in 
Norway; then he lost his life by shipwreck. The Nor- 
wegiaos felt great sympathy for him and in their an- 

1319—1388. CALMAR UNION. 177 

nals he is called, "Magnus the Good." In Sweden on 
the other hand his reputation is the reverse, and there 
he is known as the "flatterer." 

The German nobility and followers of King Albert 
and more particularly of his father continued for sev- 
eral years to be the real rulers of Sweden and the 
young King was entirely guided by their counsel and 
advice; he ceded to them large districts and even prov- 
inces which they proceeded to use just as if these were 
their own property; but the German influence soon 
diminished and then King Albert became entirely de- 
pendent on the wealthy marshal Bo Jonson Grip, the 
chancellor of state. This powerful man was possessed 
of enormous wealth and held the whole of Finland 
and two-thirds of Sweden as security for advances; 
moreover he did not use his powerful influence for the 
good of the country, but laid forcible hands upon the 
property of others contrary to law. He went so far as 
even to murder one of his enemies at the altar of a 
church. He, however, was not the only one to act 
in this lawless manner; the strong and wealthy con- 
tinued to oppress and ruin the weaker; the bifshop of 
Linkoping himself while on a journey was suddenly 
attacked and murdered by one of the nobility. Large 
companies marched through the country committing 
deeds of violence, and plundering and seizing 
all the property they could lay hands on. Guer- 
rilla warfare was of daily occurrence. Castles 
and fortifications sprang up all over the country, and 
as the nobility continued to crush the people the 
freedom that had been enjoyed by the bondes and yeo- 
men for centuries seemed on the point of being lost. 
The vacillating and effeminate King neither could nor 


would do anything to put an end to the evil. When 
the powerful Bo Jonson Grip died in 1386 the King 
took steps to recover his former power, and attempt- 
ed to be appointed the guardian and protector of the 
deceased noble's widow and children for the purpose 
of obtaining control of the large estate. It is claimed 
that he even intended to take the property away from 
them and cause it to revert to the possession of the 
crown, but Bo Jonson Grip had in his last willand 
testament appointed ten of the lords of the realm exe- 
cutors of his will and they declined to resign or sur- 
render the property. When they were coerced by King 
Albert they invoked the assistance of Margaret, the 
Queen of Denmark and Norway. 

Many and great changes had in the meantime taken 
place in the neighboring kingdoms. King Valdemar 
Atterdag of Denmark had died in the year 1375; as he 
left no sons the Dan^s elected as their King the five 
year old Olaf, his grandchild, son of his daughter Mar- 
garet and King Hakon. During the King's minority 
his mother, a wise and prudent woman, governed the 
Kingdom. In 1380 King Hakon of Norway died, great- 
ly lamented by the Norwegians. By right of inherit- 
ance the young King Olaf was elected King of Nor- 
way, under the guardianship of his mother. King Olaf 
by right of inheritance had also a claim to the Swedish 
crown and Margaret made efforts to rescue it far him. 
Her plans, however, were frustrated when King Olaf 
suddenly died in the year 1387. With him the old 
Folkunger line became extinct on the male side, but 
the power and influence of Margaret were so great that 
she was elected ruler both by the Danes and Nor- 
wegians without opposition. 

1310—1388. CALMAR UNION. l':9 

Margaret was the only person able to assist the 
Swedish lords against King Albert and his German 
favorites, so the Swedes saw no other way out of their 
troubles but to elect her Queen of Sweden, and to se- 
cure her favors they found it necessary as well to turn 
over to her a large portion of the wealth of the de-' 
ceased marshal, Bo Johnson Grip, and to open the cas- 
tles to her. Margaret was elected Queen of Sweden in 
1388. She had at one stroke come into possession of 
a large portion of the country. King Albert went over 
to Germany and soon returned with a German army 
with which he thought that he would gain an easy 
victory over Queen Margaret, whom he thoroughly 
despised. She called out a large force composed of 
Danes and Norwegians, and the Swedish lords joined 
her at the head of the Swedish army. The two oppos- 
ing parties met in the neighborhood of the city of 
Falkoping, on February 24, 1389. Albert with his 
German troops was totally defeated and routed, and 
both he and his son were taken prisoners. This was 
the first time that the banners of the three Northern 
kingdoms had been carried by a united army against 
their enemies and assailants. The foreigners were 
treated roughly and driven from the country. 




Friendly Relations between Sweden, Denmark and Norway — The Ger- 
mans and the Hansa — Margaret and Erie — ^Hatte Brothers — Murder 
of Citizens — Hansa Pirates — Holland — Treaty — Albert Released — 
Teutonic Knights — Margaret Secures Election of Eric in Norway, 
then in Sweden and Denmark — Calmar Union 1397 — Internal and 
External Relations — Union Not Ratified by the People — Margaret's 
Energy — Seizure of the Crown Property — Her Influence on Church 
and State — Relief of the Lower Classes — Reduces Gothland — King . 
Eric's Partiality to the Danes — Margaret's Death — Eric Sole Ruler — 
War with Germany — Philippa's Abilities — Peace — Sweden Dissatis-. 
fied with Eric — Oppression^ — Cruelty — Causes leading to the Disso- 
lution of the Union — Engelbert and Charles Knutson — Engelbert's 
Early Life and Home — ^His Journey to the King — Demands Relief 
for the Swedes — No Success — Raises an Army — Drives Out the Danes 
— Seizes the Treasury — Compels the Council to Dethrone Eric — 
Marches South — Most of the Country under his Control — Eric Ar- 
rives with an Army at Stockholm — ^Besieged — The Grandees Recon- 
cile Eric and Engelbert — Engelbert Elected Chief Marshal — Riks- 
dag — ^Negotiations with Erie — Riksdag 1436 — Charles Knutson Ad- 
ministrator — Engelbert Murdered — His Character and Success — The 
Grandees in Power — Puke Executed — Charles Administrator — Eric 
Dethroned — Christopher — Privileges of the Nobles and Clergy — Hard 
Times — Lands Law — Christopher's Death 1448. 

From the beginning of the Thirteenth century the 
three Northern kingdoms had entered into close 
relations, partly through the union between Sweden 
and Norway, and partly because the Southern prov- 
inces of Sweden were under the rule alternately 

1388—1448. MARGARET, ERIC, EXGELBERT. 181 

of Sweden and Denmark; the three peoples 
had thus by degrees become better acquaijited 
with each other, and national hatred and prejudice 
gradually disappeared. The wealthy lords of the three 
countries were in harmony by their social standing as 
well as by marriage and they made every effort to re- 
tain their prestige; the people had also come to a real- 
ization of the importance of unity and of helping each 
other against foreign enemies, and more particularly 
of resisting the pressure brought to bear by Germany. 
The German cities on the South of the Baltic, com- 
posing what is known as the Hansa, drained all the 
resources of the north; and the Princes of Mecklenburg 
and Holstein did all that lay in their power to make 
Ihemselves rulers of the Northern kingdoms. The peo- 
ple of the North became convinced that the only safe- 
guard against encroachments of German power and in- 
fluence was a close union among themselves. Margaret 
at that time was the only person who by her skill, dip- 
lomacy, and statesmanship was able to bring about 
such a result. She was born in Denmark but was edu- 
cated in Sweden and Norway. 

Margaret and Eric of Pomerania. — At the battle of 
Falkoping the German army of King Albert had been 
totally defeated, but their courage and resources were 
by no means exhausted. They were still in possession 
of several fortified places in Sweden, the strongest of 
which was Stockholm. They attempted here to 
strengthen their position by one of the most villainous 
and murderous acts known in the Swedish annals. An 
organization was formed among the German mer- 
chants and residents in Stockholm known by the name 
of Hatte brothers. On a preconcerted signal they ap- 


peared armed to the teeth, seized the wealthiest of the 
Swedish burghers, murdered many of them, impris- 
oned a still larger number, "and then set fire to the 
prison and burned them to death. The Princes of 
Mecklenburg and the Hansa cities equipped and sent 
out into the Baltic a large number of pirates who, un- 
der the pretense of bringing relief and provisions to 
Stockholm and saving Albert from imprisonment, 
made incessant depredations in the Baltic, raiding the 
country, burning the villages and cities, and murder- 
ing the inhabitants. The Northern kingdoms were 
almost defenseless against these pirates, because, 
after the cities of the Hansa had become the sole mar- 
itime.power of the North, the vessels of the Northern 
kingdoms had been driven from the sea; so these rob- 
bers and pirates continued their operations in the 
Baltic for a period of eight years and finally took pos- 
session of the Island of Gothland which became a base 
for their predatory expeditions. Albert, however, was 
still kept a prisoner at the castle of Lindholm, so the 
cities of the Hansa finally succeeded in arranging an 
armistice on the terms that Albert and his son should 
be given their liberty on the condition that they should 
pay Queen Margaret a large sum of money and sur- 
render the city of Stockholm to her, which was done 
in 1395. German pirates paid noattentionto the treaty 
of peace but continued to make raids until finally the 
Teutonic Knights of Prussia succeeded in the year 
1398 in overpowering and conquering the Island of 
Gothland and holding it as security for a certain sum 
of money. The great sufferings which the Hansa 
pirates had caused the people of the North during the 
past years had thoroughly convinced them that they 

1388—1448. MARGARET, ERIC, ENGELBERT. 183 

were in need of each other's support, and that harmony 
among themselves would aid them in strengthening 
their naval forces as well as in protecting their ex- 
tensive coasts from any further attacks from people liv- 
ing on the other side of the Baltic. Queen Margaret 
had for some time past been making every effort to 
lay tjie foundation for a closer union between the three 
kingdoms. In order to accomplish this she concluded 
that it would be necessary to induce the Scandinavians 
to agree upon a ruler whom the three kingdoms would 
recognize; she had already succeeded in the year 1389 
in securing recognition for the seven year old Eric of 
Pomerania, the grand-son of her sister, as heir to the 
Norwegian throne, though he was not elected and 
recognized as King of Sweden and Denmark until the 
year 1396. Her next effort was to call the Council of 
State of the three kingdoms together for united con- 
sultation on the subject of a harmonious govern- 
ment. The united Councils met for the first time 
in 1395 when they agreed on terms of peace, and it is 
therefore conceded that the union originated at this 
meeting. When the young King was to be crowned, 
Margaret summoned the State Councils and other 
great lords of the realm from all three kingdoms to 
a meeting at the city of-Calmar in 1397. At this place 
and time Eric was crowned King, not over each of the 
kingdoms separately, but over all three kingdoms at 
the same time, as an evidence that henceforward they 
were to be in reality a political unit. Margaret desired 
further, in order to protect the work she had accom- 
plished, that a formal act of union should be adopted 
by the three kingdoms; so an act of union was pre- 
pared at Calmar and signed by several of the promin- 


ent lords of the realm of each .nation. It contained 
the provisions that the three kingdoms were hence- 
forth to be united forever as a political vrhole; they 
were always to elect their Kings unanimously and to 
elect one of the sons of the last King, if one existed. 
In their relations to foreign powers they were to be 
considered one kingdom, but their home affairs were 
to be administered according to their own laws. This 
act is usually called the Calmar-Union, and it was 
adopted on the 20th of July, 1397. But in point of fact 
it was only a proposition, which never received legal 
sanction, as it was not submitted to the people of the 
three kingdoms and was not even generally known 
to the public till much later. Margaret's object in 
bringing about this union was to form the three North- 
ern kingdoms into a great and powerful monarchy, 
under the guidance of Denmark, which would be strong 
enough to protect its political and civil liberty against 
foreign encroachments and to exert its influence among 
the European nations. 

It was really the royal power which was to hold 
the three kingdoms together and to draw them nearer 
each other, and to this end Margaret endeavored to 
extend the limits of the royal power and prerogative. 
She did not succeed in bringing Denmark and Sweden 
to adopt a constitution which would maJie the throne 
descend by inheritance in the same line : she did, how- 
ever, succeed in reducing the power and influence of 
the Council of State, and made no appointments to 
the vacant ofiices of chancellor and marshal. She con- 
stantly traveled through her dominions and watched 
carefully over the offlcers and judges and saw to it that 
justice was administered according to existing laws; 


she also curbed the restless and violent classes, par- 
ticularly the aristocrats, who had become accustomed 
by this time to oppress the less fortunate in the com- 
munity; she further caused the property of the crown, 
which had under one pretext and another come into 
the possession of the grandees and nobility, to again 
revert to the government. It was at the parliament in 
Nykoping in 1396 that the Swedish lords were com- 
pelled to yield to her demand that all crown property 
which the temporal and spiritual lords had taken pos- 
session of since the year 1363 should forthwith be re- 
turned to the possession of the crown, and that all 
castles and fortifications which had in the meantime 
been erected and were in their possession should be 
demolished and razed to the ground, and that no 
further freedom from taxes and other burdens should 
be allowed; the resolution thus adopted was immedi- 
• ately put into execution and large tracts of land in the 
possession of the nobility and the church were seized 
and the income of the crown was hereby greatly aug- 

All these important steps for the improvement of 
the government were executed with thoroughness and 
without mishaps, for Margaret, having an unusual 
knowledge of the people of her three kingdoms, under- 
stood how to suit herself to their several dispositions, 
and succeeded in influencing the powerful men of her 
time to yield to her wishes without antagonizing 
them; she was at the same time a devoted daughter of 
the church and yet determined that the latter should 
behave justly to the governments which protected her 
organization from the rapacity of the grandees. 

The common people she endeavored to please, and 


when they complained of the heavy burdens of taxa- 
tion she pleaded with them to have patience, and made 
excuses that the times were hard and that her own 
interests were at stake. The condition of the farmers 
was really much improved; the poorer people received 
justice swiftly and without partiality, and the reversion 
of the crown property to the Sovereign greatly 
ameliorated the lot of the common people who had been 
oppressed and robbed of everything they had by the 
privileged classes. However, the Swedes were not so 
well pleased with Margaret as the Danes, for whom 
she showed a special partiality and preference. 

During her last years Margaret was occupied with 
plans for the recovery of those parts of the North 
which had been lost during the late wars, viz: the 
islands of Gothland and Schleswig. First she sent 
an army over to Gothland only to be surprised and 
surrounded by the more powerful army of the defend- 
ers which drove the invaders away, but at last she 
succeeded in negotiating with Albert and the Teutonic 
Knights, who, in return for a large sum of money, sur- 
rendered their claims to the island, which was given 
up to King Eric in 1406. Eric filled all the offices on 
the island with Danish officials, although Sweden had 
paid the ransom for its release, and his action resulted 
in considerable ill-will against the Danes. 

King Eric bega'n at this time to take a more active 
part in the government, though he was quite unfit for 
the high position in which he was placed, being selfish, 
irritable, and narrow minded. Queen Margaret had 
endeavored to win Schleswig from the Holstein Dukea 
in a peaceable manner, but through the unwise policy 
of Eric a war broke out in 1410 which, with the excep- 

1388—1448. MARGARET, ERIC, ENGELBERT. 187 

tion of short intermissions, continued for twenty-five 
years. Margaret prepared for a journey to meet the 
belligerents at Flensborg for the purpose of reconcil- 
ing them, and if possible bringing about a peace, but 
just as she was ready to leave she died suddenly on the 
vessel in the year 1412. 

King Eric who had now become sole ruler over the 
North refused to listen to counsel and pursued his war 
against the people of Holstein. Although he was lord 
over three kingdoms he conducted the war so poorly 
that he was unable to drive the Germans from Schles- 
wig. His reverses became still greater when Holstein 
received aid from the cities of the Hansa who were 
joined by the powerful city of Lubeck in 1426. Eric 
instead of pursuing an offensive war was now compelled 
to assume a defensive attitude. His wise and courage- 
ous Queen, Philippa of England, daughter of Henry IV. 
of Lancaster, was his best support during this time; 
it was she who governed his kingdoms and prosecuted 
the war during the time that Eric made a pilgrimage 
to Jerusalem. The Hanseatic league made an attack 
on Copenhagen, but by her courage and daring the 
Queen gained a decisive victory. The Swedish fleet, 
which had been called to the Sound, was scattered 
by a storm and many vessels were wrecked; she spared 
no efforts in the work of rescue and in assisting to 
send them home again. Later on she made a visit to 
the cloister of Vadstena where she enrolled herself as 
a sister, as Queen Margaret had done before her, and 
here she died suddenly during her stay. The war 
which had been prosecuted for a long time and con- 
ducted with great energy was at last concluded by a 
formal treaty of peace. The Dukes of Holstein re- 


mained in possession of Schleswig, and the cities of the 
Hanseatic league retained their former privileges in 
the North. 

This long and disastrous war which had been con- 
ducted so unfortunately caused a great deal of dis- 
satisfaction in the North. In Sweden, however, the 
dissatisfaction with Eric's government was greater 
than in the other kingdoms on account of the indiffer- 
ence shown to the people in home affairs. The coun- 
try was oppressed by heavy taxes and constant levies 
"for the war which were enforced in an unreasonably 
cruel manner into the bargain. The war with the 
cities of the Hansa had caused a rupture of commer- 
cial relations, panic, and hard times. The church and 
clergy showed great discontent with King Eric on ac- 
count of his appointments of unsuitable and unworthy 
bishops. He created as archbishop of Upsala a per- 
son entirely unfit for such an exalted position, and who 
had to be suspended on account of his immoral and 
disreputable life. The King seldom visited Sweden and 
Norway and did not even appoint a regular govern- 
ment in these countries; the administration of justice 
was neglected; no superintendence was kept up over 
the offlcials, the collectors of taxes, and the powerful 
and wealthy, but they were permitted to oppress the 
community and seize upon the property of their sub- 
ordinates without any likelihood of bein^ called to 
account; the bondes were almost reduced to slavery, 
and if they complained were deprived of their personal 
liberty; the crown officers, who were mostly foreign- 
ers, robbed and plundered them in every possible way. 
A Dane by the name of Jesse Ericson, who had been 
appointed overseer over the provinces of Dalarne and 

1388—1448. MARGARET, ERIC, ENGELBERT. 188 

Westmanland, had the reputation of being the worst 
of thein all; it is related concerning him that after he 
had first taken all the horses and cattle from the peas- 
ants he compelled them to plough his land themselves 
and thereafter he hung five of them in smoke. Such 
cruelty as this in the long run became unendurable. 
The people in their exasperation turned not only 
against the oflEicials but also against Denmark and the 
Union; it was this inhuman treatment that finally 
undermined the Union wrought by Margaret. 

Engelbert and Charles Knutson. — A little to the 
North of the centre of Sweden, hidden in a beautiful 
valley and surrounded by mountains covered with for- 
ests, lies an inland lake called Siljan, the source of the 
river Dale. Tiie mountains are rich in iron and copper 
ores, and the people who lived among them had for 
ages past been famous for their love of liberty, their 
honesty, and their integrity. Their living had been 
earned by honest toil and effort, partly in the forests 
and partly in the iron and copper mines which they 
had been working for generations, and they had, to 
a greater extent than the people of the surrounding 
provinces, preserved their old. Northern customs, sim- 
plicity, and self government. Up to thi& time this 
province had been little known in the history of Swed- 
en, but during this period it suddenly appeared as the 
deliverer, of Sweden from its foreign oppressors. Not 
far from one of the copper mines there lived a man 
called Engelbert Engelbertson, who claimed descent 
from a clan that had always given men of mark to 
the community. In appearance he was insignificant; 
in stature small; but he was intelligent, courageous, 
prudent, and a fine speaker, while a noble Swedish 


heart beat in his bosom. The people of the-province had 
for a long time been suffering from oppression at the 
hands of the royal bailiffs and at last in their extrem- 
ity they turned to this Engelbert and elected him their 
spokesman. Accordingly, in company with several of 
them, he made a journey to see the King, who held 
court in Denmark, and presented their complaints to 
him with courage and earnestness. But although the 
Swedish Council of State concurred in Engelbert's rep- 
resentations and in the truth of his and the people's 
complaint against the royal official, Jesse Ericson, the 
King was not on that account persuaded to remove 
him but allowed him to persist in his violent and un- 
lawful conduct. Engelbert made a second journey 
and laid further complaints before the King, who, far 
from promising relief, gave orders that if the petitioner 
appeared before him again he was to be "arrested and 
imprisoned. When Engelbert had returned to his 
province he told the Dalcarlar what had befallen 
him in the presence of the King and how the latter 
had threatened that if the people persisted in mak- 
ing complaints their sufferings would only be in- 
creased. Thereupon they prepared to enforce their 
rights, and after electing Engelbert their chief and 
arming themselves marched to the city of Vesteras, 
where Jesse was living. On two different occasions 
when the Dalcarlar were marching Southward to en- 
force their rights and seek relief the councillors of 
state met them and persuaded them to return by prom- 
ises of redress; but when the Dalcarlar at last be- 
came convinced that they were being put off with idle 
words they set out for the third time about midsummer 

1388—1448. MARGARET, ERIC, ENGELBERT. 191 

1434, fully determined not to return until they had 
driven the foreign oppressors from the country. 

Their first success was the seizure and destruction 
of a fortress occupied by one of these royal officials, 
called Borganas, on the river Dale; this was taken by 
storm and razed to the ground. Thence they moved 
to Vesteras and continued their march as far as Up- 
sala where Engelbert addressed the assembled com- 
munities and ordered one-third of the taxes to be re- 
mitted, and here he issued a proclamation which was 
sent to all the different provinces of Sweden, advising 
them to rise and throw off the yoke of their foreign 
oppressors. He found an active associate in Eric 
Puke, a brave man skilled in military manoeuvres, 
who placed himself at the head of a large number of 
Norlanders and Finns, destroyed all the strongholds 
and drove the royal officers out. 

A body of men from Sodermanland attacked the 
citadel of Gripsholm and took it it by storm. From 
every direction armed yeomen flocked to the stand- 
ard of Engelbert, who advanced on Stockholm and 
after some negotiations entered into an armistice with 
Hans Kroplin, the mayor and commander of the town, 
after which he advanced Southward through Soder- 
manland into East Gothland. Here information 
reached him that the Council of State was assembled 
in conference at the City of Vadstena. Accompanied 
by a large following, of his army he marched thither 
to meet them, and addressing them in words of fervid 
and impassioned eloquence, vividly depicted the op- 
pressions and sufferings of the people and besought 
his hearers to save the country from its foreign oppres- 
sors, finally demanding that the Council should take 


action by dethroning the King and refusing him any 
further obedience. This the Council refused to do, 
whereupon Eugelbert with some of his followers seized 
the startled and terrified officials and threatened to 
throw them out of the window to the people assembled 

At this they became so alarmed that they immedi- 
ately consented to forswear allegiance to the King; 
and Engelbert drew up a declaration to this effect 
which they were all made to sign. This being done 
Engelbert marched Southward with his army and 
drove all the foreigners out of East Gothland and Sma- 
land. The people of the province of Vermland also 
rose and drove the royal officers from their province. 
Engelbert marched with a large army through West 
Gothland as far as Scania, with the people of which 
province he entered into an alliance. He was then in 
possession of the whole country except Stockholm and 
a few scattered fortifications. This work of deliver- 
ance from foreign oppression had been accomplished 
within less than four months, and the powerful army 
of bondes had marched through the country in such 
good order and with such excellent military discipline 
that no complaint was made of their having caused 
trouble to anyone. 

Engelbert had already dismissed his followers 
when King Eric arrived at Stockholm with his army. 
The popular leader immediately called all his support- 
ers to arms and began to lay siege to Stockholm, but 
the powerful lords of the kingdom succeeded in ar- 
bitrating between the contending armies and in bring- 
ing about an armistice by which the King was allowed 
to take his departure. A Council of State or Riksdag 

1388—1448. MARGAEET, EEIC, ENGELBEET. 193 

at which the distinguished nobles and the bondes were 
present met at Arboga and elected Engelbert Chief 
Marshal or Commander of the government, in January, 
1435. This is the first Riksdag in Sweden concerning 
which it is definitely known that the burghers, as well 
as the bondes or yeomen, attended and took an active 
part in its deliberations since the time of the Christian- 
izing of the country which made an end of the Al- 
sharjar Ting on Mora stone, at Upsala. The friends of 
the King did their best to bring about a reconciliation 
between him and the Swedes and held a great many 
meetings and councils for this purpose. Finally Eric 
attended a Eiksdag in Stockholm in the fall of 1485 
and was again recognized as King by the Council of 
State on the condition that he promise to rule the coun- 
try- according to law and appoint none but native 
Swedes to any office or to the command of any forti- 
fications or citadels. The King appointed Christian 
Nilson Vasa chancellor and Charles Knutson Bonde 
marshal, both of them men of great infiuence. wealth, 
and prestige. But he did not keep the promises he 
had made to the people; on the contrary, in taking 
his departure, he passed through the country, plunder- 
ing the inhabitants and seizing and carrying away 
all property he could lay his hands on. 

All forbearance was now at an end and popular 
exasperation obliged the Council to call the representa- 
tives of the people to attend a general Riksdag at Ar- 
boga in January 1436, at which the Swedes declared 
King Eric to have forfeited their allegiance, saying 
that henceforward they would neither obey nor recog- 
nize him. The lords, who were jealous of the popular 
and successful Engelbert, for they claimed that h^ 


was of lower origin than themselves, plotted to elect a 
new chief marshal and succeeded in electing Charles 
Knutson. But when Engelbert and the people at large 
showed dissatisfaction with the election it was agreed 
that the government should be exercised jointly by 
Engelbert and Charles and that the latter should con- 
tinue the siege of Stockholm whilst Engelbert should 
march with a picked army through the country and 
depose all the newly appointed officials of the King. He 
led his army along the Eastern coast of Sweden, took 
possession of all the fortifications, conquered the prov- 
inces of Bleking and Halland, returned along the 
western coast and laid siege to the castle of Axevalla, 
in West Gothland ; he was there attacked by a violent 
sickness which compelled him to sail for the city of 
Drebro where his landed estate was situated. The 
Council of State, however, had summoned him to 
Stockholm, so he entered a vessel in order to cross over 
Lake Hjalmaren; a heavy storm arose and the ship was 
compelled to lay to over night at a small island which 
is yet called Engelbert Island. Near the place where 
they landed was an estate belonging to the councillor 
of state Bengt Stenson with whom Engelbert had 
quarreled, but to whom he had been reconciled. Engel- 
bert and his few followers noticed a small boat com- 
ing towards the island, but thought it was some per- 
son coming on a friendly visit. He proceeded down to 
the shore, walking on crutches, in order to welcome 
his visitors. Mans, the son of Bengt Stenson, a wild 
and violent young man, jumped out of the boat, and 
rushed at Engelbert with uplifted axe, and attack- 
ing him savagely cut his head open and afterwards 
shot him several times with arrows. After murdering 


1388—1448. MARGARET, ERIC, ENGELBERT. 197 

Engelbert, Bengtson took his wife and companions 
prisoners. This unprovoked and cold-blooded murder 
took place on the 27th of "April, 1436. Engelbert's 
companions-in-arms among the common people visited 
the island, took the remains of the beloved chief away, 
and laid them to rest amid heartfelt expressions of 
devotion and sympathy. 

Engelbert had in a short time accomplished great 
things; and he is justly considered one of the greatest 
' figures among the Swedes of the middle ages. For 
less than three years he had played a part on the public 
stage, yet he accomplished a work unparalleled in 
Swedish annals. He gave to the people their former 
freedom and independence- and awoke to new life the 
slumbering national sentiment by uniting all the dif- 
ferent provinces together as one man for the salvation 
of a common country. It was he who called the 
burghers from the cities and the free landholders from 
the country to the general Eiksdag. From this time 
onwards we do not find independent separate provinces 
but a nationalized Sweden. 

After the death of this great Bonde chief, the 
wealthy lords began to show their hands again. The 
people had been roused to a realization of their rights 
and privileges and henceforth took a more active part 
in the affairs of state, so the lords endeavored to turn 
this awakened energy to their own benefit, by making 
use of it to restrict the influence of the lower classes 
as well as as of the King, but they could not agree 
among themselves. It had been agreed that the 
chancellor and the marshal were to govern the coun- 
try jointly and in harmony, but the young and am- 
bitious Charles Knutson seized the reins of govern- 


ment, and took the murderer of Bngelbert under his 
protection, an act which exasperated the many friends- 
of the hero and the people at large. Eric Puke, the 
former friend of Engelbert, stood at the head of the 
popular party. He plotted against Charles and suc- 
ceeded in raising a popular revolt against him, but 
was eventually arrested, tried as a traitor, and exe- 
cuted. The chancellor, Christian Nilson Vasa and 
his party conspired to again restore Eric to the throne. 
Several meetings were held at his instance and ne- 
gotiations were conducted steadily to this end. A new 
proposition was even brought forward to unite the 
three kingdoms under one sceptre; but Eric, by his self- 
ishness and egotism, thwarted every effort of his fol- 
lowers. The marshal, Charles Knutson, was at last 
in 1438 elected administrator, a title now for the 
first time met with in Swedish history. The old 
chancellor, who had again plotted to bring King Eric 
to Sweden, was at last secretly taken prisoner and ban- 
-ished to Viborg. In the year 1439 King Erie was 
formally dethroned at a Biksdag held at Telge; and on 
account of his misrule he had already forfeited all sym- 
pathy in Denmark and Norway and his subjects soon 

tired of him. The bondes of Norway rose against him 

and were only quieted by his yielding to the popular 
demands, while he met with so much opposition in 
Denmark that he at last lost his temper, abandoned 
the country and fled to Gothland where he took pos- 
session of the castle of Visborg. In Denmark as well 
as in Sweden the government was now in the hands of 
the Council of State; and the Danes elected Christopher 
of Bavaria, (Eric's nephew) King of Denmark and Eric 
was formally dethroned in 1439. 

1388—1448. MARGARET, ERIC, ENGELBERT. 199 

Christopher of Bavaria. — After King Eric had been 
dethroned the party who favored the union of Calmar 
became predominant under the leadership of the 
bishops. This party succeeded in persuading Charles 
Knutson to resign his position as administrator, 
which he did on receiving Finland and the 
island of Oland as his duchy in addition to 
a release for all accountability as administrator. 
Christopher, having been previously elected King 
of Denmark, was elected King of Sweden, by the Swed- 
ish Council in the year 1440. The latter on 
this occasion took advantage of the dependence of 
the newly elected King upon the magnates to demand 
from him a written declaration confirming all the priv- 
ileges of the nobility and of the clergy. He took the 
oath and bound himself to abide by the decision and to 
govern the realm according to the advice of the Coun- 
cil; none but native born Swedes were to be appointed 
to government offices, and the Island of Gothland was 
to be restored to Sweden. Only after these prelimin- 
aries had been settled did Christopher come to Sweden. 
He entered Stockholm side by side with Charles and 
was thereupon crowned King of Sweden with great 
pomp and ceremony. Christopher in personal appear- 
ance was small and insignificant of stature, fond of 
pleasure, good natured and of a happy disposition, 
and was liked by the great lords and the Council be- 
cause he yielded in all things to their wishes. He was 
not so well liked by the co-mmon people. During his 
reign there were hard times in the country, the crops 
failed and famine prevailed, living became expensive 
and distress was general; there was not sufficient grain 
to support the people but they were compelled to mix 


tree bark with meal to make their bread, wherefore 
they called Christopher, "The Bark King." On account 
of the hard times in Denmark the peasants rose in re- 
bellion and it was only at the 'head of a large army 
that the King succeeded in suppressing it, which he did 
with great vigor. After this suppression the peasants 
of Denmark lost all their former political privileges, 
and in some parts of Denmark, as for instance on Zea- 
land and some of the small islands, they were reduced 
to serfdom and were considered the personal property 
of the nobility. 

King Christopher accomplished very little for the 
welfare of his kingdoms. There are, however, two 
acts which have preserved his memory for future ages; 
one was that he removed the capital from Eoskilde to 
Copenhagen, which has since remained the capital of 
Denmark. The other was, that during his reign, in 
the year 1442 the general laws of Sweden were in some 
respects revised and received royal sanction. Under 
the title of King Christopher's lands-law this law con- 
tinued to be the law of Sweden until the year 1736. 
He had promised to restore Gothland to Sweden, a 
promise which he never fulfilled, but allowed his uncle, 
the dethroned King Eric, to remain in possession of 
the Island. It is true he sent over a Swedish army 
which landed there, but he took no further steps than 
to have a friendly conference with the old King, and 
thereupon returned to Sweden. Christopher did, how- 
ever, malie a strenuous efifort to deliver the North 
from the arrogant and domineering combinations of. 
the merchants of the Hansa league. The People of 
Lubeck fearing an assault by him on their city made 
active preparati'^n for its defense, but their fear was 
soon allayed by his sudden death in the year 1448. 




Bengt and Nils Oxenstjerna Administrators — Union Party and Opposi- 
tion — Charles' Return from Finland — Elected King 1448 — Christian 
I. Elected King of Denmark — Charles and Christian I. at War — ■ 
Charles, King of Norway — Swedish Lords Arbitrate away Norway- 
Charles Invades Scania — ^Danes Defeated in East Gothland and 
West Gothland — Murder of Marshal Bonde — Archbishop's Revolt 
against Charles — flees to Dantzig — Archbishop and Tott Adminis- 
trators — Christian I. King — Heavy Taxation — Archbishop's Policy — 
His Arrest and Transportation 1463 — His Relatives Revolt — Chris 
tian Deposed — Charles Returns as King — Archbishop Released — At- 
tacks Charles who Leaves for Finland — Vasa Administrator — Oxen- 
stjerna Administrator — Nils Sture — Tott Administrator — Flees to 
Denmark — Charles Third time King — His Death — Sten Sture Ad- 
ministrator — Christian at Stockholm — Danes Defeated at Battle of 
Brunkeberg — Sture's Wise Government — XJpsala University .Founded 
1477 — Christian's Indifference to His Subjects — Hans, or John II, 
King of Denmark and Sweden — Calmar Recess 1483 — Terms of 
Agreement between the Grandees for the* Union — Height of Aristo- 
cratic Power in Sweden — Civil War — Hans King of Sweden — His 
War in Ditmarschen — Defeat — Hemming Gad — Sten Sture Admin-- 
istrator — His Death— Swante Sture Administrator — His Character— 
Oad His Assistant — Death of Sture — Sten Sture Administrator- 
Hans' Death. 

Charles Knutson and Christian I. — When the Swed- 
ish Council was informed of the death of Christopher 
they elected two brothers, Bengt and Nils Oxenstjerna, 
joint administrators of the kin^^dom; and shortly after- 
wards, when the archbishopric became vacant, Jesse 


the son of Bengt Oxenstjerna was elected primate, an 
ambitious, passionate and disagreeable man, who at 
once became the leader of the party of the Union. 
To this party several of the wealthy and distinguished 
noble families belonged, such as Oxenstjerna and Vasa, 
as well as most of the prelates. The opposite party, 
led principally by the wealthy family of Bonde, and 
supported mainly by the common people, were work- 
ing for a dissolution of the Union and wanted a separ- 
ate King for Sweden and entire independence for the 
kingdom. The Estates were called to Eiksdag at Stock- 
holm in 1448 to elect a King. Accompanied by eight 
hundred cavaliers and their followers, Charles Knut- 
son hastened from Finland to Stockholm. His hand- 
some presence and noble ancestry coupled with a 
gracious demeanour and liberal views soon made him 
a favorite with the people, and when the election took 
place it was found that he had received a majority 
of the votes. He was declared and was crowned 
King of Sweden in 1448. The Danes shortly after 
elected Christian of Oldenburg King of Denmark; he 
married the former King's widow, Dorothea of 
Brandenburg, and from him the royal house of Olden- 
burg is descended. 

After a space of sixty years Denmark and Sweden 
had now separate Kings; and as both were ambitious 
for ascendancy it was clearly to be seen that a conflict 
was at hand, for there was no lack of pretexts, seeing 
that both claimed Gothland as well as the crown of 
Norway. Charles sent an army to Gothland which 
overran the island and laid siege to the castle of Vis- 
borg where King Eric was still residing. In his need 
the latter called upon the Danes for assistance; help 

1448—1513. CHARLES VIII. 20^ 

soon arrived, and the Swedish General Magnus Gren, 
who had not taken adequate precautions, was sur- 
prised and compelled to leave the island in 1449. 
Eric surrendered the island ,to the Danes and moved 
to his Pomeranian possessions where he died shortly] 

Two different parties had sprung up in Norway after 
the death of Christopher; one favored King Christian, 
and the other, with Archbishop Aslak Bolt at its head, 
desired the Swedish King Charles. The people at 
large favored the latter, who also visited Norway and 
was elected King at the Norwegian Landsting and 
crowned by the archbishop at Trondhjem in the year 
1449. A proclamation was issued in the name of the 
people which among other things contained the declar- 
ation that "These two kingdoms, Sweden and Norway, 
which God has thus geographically united, shall here- 
after never be separated." Nevertheless they were 
separated in less than a year. The two Kings came 
to an agreement that they should submit their dispute 
to the arbitration of twelve Swedish and twelve Dan- 
ish councillors at a meeting in the city of Halmstad, 
The Swedish lords, who were jealous of and ill-disposed 
towards Charles, yielded and decided that he should 
surrender the crown to King Christian ; and when they 
were supported by the other lords of the Swedish 
realm, he was compelled against his better judgment 
to comply with their demands and to resign all claims 
on Norway. Christian was now elected King of Nor- 
way and as such crowned in 1450. 

It was not long before the warlike King Christian 
commenced new attacks on Charles. The latter deter- 
mined to take the offensive at once, so he organized a, 


large army supported by four thousand cavalry, and a 
well equipped artillery with twenty guns and in- 
vaded Scania during the winter of 1452 conquering one 
place after the other, pillaging the country and the 
cities, and more particularly the city 6f Lund, which at 
that time was one of the largest cities of southern 
Sweden and which numbered as many as twenty-four 
churches and cloisters. Charles at this time obtained 
the advantage, though in the following spring the 
Danes made an attack on Sweden both by land and by 
sea. The Danish fleet was repelled. The bondes gath- 
ered from the province of East Gothland and led by 
their lawman met the advance columns of the Danes, 
suddenly attacked them, and gained a complete vic- 
tory in the forest of Holaved. Tord Bonde, nephew of 
King Charles, and a warlike and chivalrous young man, 
advanced with another column of the Swedish army, 
attacked the enemy and drove them out of West Goth- 
land. Thus victory attended the Swedish arms and 
peace reigned for two years. Then war broke out 
again; Tord Bonde was appointed marshal of all the 
armies, fought victoriously "against the enemy, ad- 
vanced Southward and penetrated through the prov- 
ince of Bohus. As the enemy were unsuccessful in the 
open field they contrived to bribe one of the mar- 
shal's attendants to murder him in his sleep in the 
year 1456. In him King Charles lost his ablest gen- 
eral and with him his good fortune also seemed to 
have disappeared. 

King Charles was indeed a good and well mean- 
ing King, but he did not possess sufficient wisdom to 
gain his opponents' good will in a friendly manner, 

1448—1513. CHARLES VIII. 205 

nor did lie possess pover sufficient to crush them; time 
and again the archbishop plotted with the party of 
union to dethrone Charles, but he did not venture to 
punish them in such a way as to guard himself against 
future treachery. While the King was in the field 
with his army advancing against the enemy the arch- 
bishop incited a revolt. He appeared before the altar 
in the Cathedral of Upsala where he divested himself 
of his miter and the insignia of his office and took an 
oath that he would not put them on again until there 
had been a change in the government of Sweden; 
whereupon he put on his armor, seized his sword, and 
took command of the rebel troops. The King who 
had been informed of the rebellion hastened at the head 
of his army to encounter the archbishop, but he was 
suddenly surprised by him during the night and at- 
tacked at the city of Strengnas and was wounded. 
He succeeded, however, in escaping to Stockholm; and 
as he did not feel safe from treachery even there he 
gathered all his movable property together and took 
ship for the city of Dantzig in 1457. 

The rebellious army, having gained an easy victory, 
elected the archbishop and Eric Tott administrators of 
the realm and thereupon invited King Christian I. to 
Sweden; he accepted their invitation and soon came 
thither, where he was in the usual manner proclaimed 
and crowned King. The union between the three 
kingdoms was again restored, although contrary to 
the wishes of the people. The first years of Christian's 
reign were peaceful and happy, though the King gave 
little attention to the government of his kingdom, as 
other matters of importance in the southern part of 
his realm engrossed his atteptioo, The family of the 


Dukes of Holstein, which had held possession of Schles- 
vig, had become extinct The duchy by right ought 
now to have become a province of Denmark, but 
Christian neglected the welfare of his kingdoms for 
the sake of some uncertain advantages which in the 
future did him little good; in ordef to gain control 
of Holstein, to which he had no right, he continued, 
against the wishes of the people, to allow the union 
between Holstein and Schlesvig to exist and caused 
himself to be elected Duke of Schlesvig and Count of 
Holstein in 1460. The result was that Danish Schles- 
vig was made one with German Holstein and there- 
by became Germanized, for a large number of the Ger- 
man nobility as well as burghers and merchants 
moved into the Danish province. 

Christian had to pay dearly for the ducal crown 
of Holstein. He was compelled to satisfy the claims 
of those who had a primary right to the country with 
large sums of money, a proceeding which left him 
heavily in debt. Henceforward he was always hard . 
pressed for money and was compelled to avail him- 
self of any expedient in order to satisfy his creditors; 
he made large loans, and oppressed the people with 
heavy taxes, so that they gave him the nickname of 
"The Bottomless Bag," until finally, tired of his con- 
stant and unreasonable taxation and other oppressions, 
they refused to pay the tax collectors. The King was 
at this time on a crusade in Finland against the Rus- 
sians, and the archbishop was governing in Sweden. 
Influenced by the constant complaints and representa- 
tions of the people the latter at last yielded and re- 
mitted part of the taxes. On his return the King 
was dissatisfied with the conduct of the ai'chbishop, 

1448—1513. CHARLES VIII. 207 

and a dispute which arose between them terminated in 
the archbishop being arrested and brought a prisoner 
to Denmark in the year 1463. 

Such unjust and barbarous treatment of the arch- 
bishop by the King exasperated the friends of the 
former, related as he was to the wealthy and influen- 
tial families .of the nobility, Oxenstjerna and Vasa, 
His nephew, the daring and courageous Bishop Kettil 
Vasa of the diocese of Linkoping, raised the stand- 
ard of rebellion and called the people to arms against 
the King, being immediately elected administrator of 
the kingdom. 

Christian, as soon as he heard of the rebellion, hast- 
ened with his army from Denmark and advanced 
against the bishop's forces. He had come no further 
than the forest of Westmanland, when he unexpected- 
ly met the Swedish army commanded by Bishop Kettil 
and Sten Sture; the Danes were received with a show- 
er of stones and arrows, and after a short and decisive 
battle gave way and were pursued by the Swedish 
army as far as Stockholm. A general demand for the 
return of King Charles was now made by the Swedish 
army, and the lords consented on the condition that 
the past be forgotten. King Charles returned in the 
summer of 1464 and was a second time recognized 
as King; but the joy of his return was not destined 
to last, for he soon fell into a dispute with Bishop 
Kettil and King Christian, who, becoming reconciled 
to the archbishop, released him from prison. Return- 
ing to Sweden the archbishop collected his supporters 
and advanced against King Charles and besieged him 
in Stockholm; the King was reduced to extremity and 


in January, 1468, was forced to resign the crown and 
to become simply governor of Finland. Accordingly 
he left Sweden and lived at his estate in Finland for 
a few years in quietude and straitened circumstanceSw 
After the second fall of King Charles, the Swedish 
lords elected Bishop Kettil Vasa administrator, who 
died the same year. As his successor they elected 
Archljishop Jesse Oxenstjerna, who thereupon became 
still more arrogant and despotic than in the past, and 
assumed the title, "We Jesse, by the grace of God, 
archbishop at Upsala, primate of Sweden and admiur 
istrator of the kingdom." The temporal lords, how- 
ever, soon tired of his despotic government The first 
one to raise the standard of rebellion against him was 
Count Nils Bosson, (who had adopted the name of Stu- 
re, belonging to his mother's family) a friend and rela- 
tive of King Charles; and the powerful Totts joined 
in the revolt. They had formerly been closely identi- 
fied with the party of the Calmar Union; influenced by 
inter-marriage with families who did not favor the 
Union as well as by their individual interests, they now 
joined the party of Charles. Eric Tott was finally 
elected administrator in the place of the archbishop. 
This Wa*s the signal for an open struggle between the 
two parties, one led by the Totts and the Stures, the 
other by the archbishop and Eric Vasa, a brother of 
Bishop Kettil, who received support from Denmark. 
At first the Swedish national party was victorious and 
the archbishop was compelled to flee to Denmark, 
where he shortly afterwards died. King Charles was 
now elected King of Sweden in 1467 for the third time. 
After a peace that lasted for about two years civil 

1448—1513. CHARLES VIII. 209 

war broke out and the whole country was involved in 
internal strife. The daring Eric Vasa gathered to- 
gether a large army of bondes and advanced against 
King Charles and met him in open battle. As the re- 
sult of several decisive battles King Charles and his 
army were conquered. Eric Vasa, elated by Ms suc- 
cess over the King, invaded the Province of Dalarne to 
attack the Stures; they went out to meet him and in a 
pitched battle the army of Dalarne was victorious and 
completely routed the invaders who fled, Vasa himself 
escaping to Denmark. Another attempt on the part of 
the Danes to invade Sweden resulted in their utter de- 
feat and in 1470 in the midst of this civil war King 
Charles' stormy and eventful life closed. 

Sten Sture, Sr., and Christian I. — ^King Charles 
before his death nominated Sten Sture as the most 
suitable person to govern the kingdom after him, and 
it is said furthermore, that he warned Sture not to 
aspire to the crown. The party favoring the Union 
made strenuous efforts to remove him, but, secure in 
the support of the Dalcarlar and the powerful Totts, 
he was elected the same year and in the following year 
in a Kiksdag at Arboga recognized as the adminis- 
trator of the kingdom. King Christian I. of Denmark 
now determined that he would, if possible, regain the 
crown of Sweden; he therefore made great prepara- 
tions for war; and with a large fleet embarked his 
army for Stockholm. At first he sought to accomplish 
his purpose and be elected King by friendly negotia- 
tions. The Council of State, as well as the Archbishop 
Jacob Ulf, detained him with idle conferences, during 
which time the Stures were able to organize an army 
among the people. At last the Danes landed, fortj- 


fled themselves on one of the hills north of the city 
and began to lay siege to Stockholm; in the mean- 
time Mis Sture with his army from Dalarne had suc- 
ceeded in effecting a junction with Sten Sture v/ho 
commanded the bondes from the Southern provinces, 
and now the whole Swedish army advanced against 
the Danes; singing and shouting and encouraging one 
another, they marched onward under the command of 
the administrator himself to scale the mountains on 
which the Danish army was entrenched, whilst Nils 
Sture with his army made a detour and attacked the 
enemy in the flank. The burghers of the City of Stock- 
holm under the command of Knut Posse made a sally 
from the gates of the city. Upon the roofs of its hous- 
es the inhabitants awaited the issue of the conflict with 
hope and anxiety. On two different occasions the 
Swedes were seen to storm the Danish fortifications 
and to plant their standard on the top of the moun- 
tain, and on two different occasions they were seen 
to yield to the superior discipline of the Danes. Fail- 
ing to take possession of the heights the Swedish army 
was thrown against the Danish division, which was 
halted at the foot of the mountains where the church of 
St. Clara is now located. Seeing this the Danes rushed 
down from above to assist their companions in arms, 
and a desperate struggle ensued. The Swedes got the 
upper hand, and just as the Danes began to yield 
Nils Sture with his army of Dalcarlar reached the field 
of battle and completed the victory. A third attack 
was made on the Danish fortifications, in which the 
King was wounded and taken to the rear of his army ; 
the Danes fled in confusion and their standard fell 
into the hands of the Swedes. It had been taken at 

1448—1513. STURE AND CHRISTIAN I. 211 

the sacrifice of over five hundred of the Danish nobility 
who lost their lives in this battle. The number of 
killed, wounded, and prisoners was great, besides 
which many of the enemy were drowned in trying to 
escape to their vessels. This glorious victory on the 
mountain called Brunkeberg, which was won on Octo- ' 
ber 10, 1471, resulted in a complete victory over the 
Danes, who were driven from the country and who 
thereafter for twenty-five years left Sweden in peace. 
The battle of Brunkeberg was followed by ten years 
of domestic peace, happiness, and prosperity, during 
which the country was enabled to recover its normal 
condition after the many internal disputes, struggles, 
and dissensions. Sten Sture conducted the govern- 
ment with wisdom and prudence and succeeded for 
some time in pacifying the different parties by his 
statesmanship and his own personal superiority. At 
the beginning of his administration he was on friend- 
ly terms with the most powerful men of the realm, 
such as the archbishop, the Totts, and the Stures, but 
in reality he was a man of the people and supported 
by them; he enjoyed the complete confidence of the 
common people, looked after their interests, and was 
in close communion and sympathy with them, took 
council with them at their general assemblies and vis- 
ited them in their homes. To the cities and the mer- 
cantile classes he granted privileges and defended 
them against the insolence and overbearing demands 
of the Dutch. The latter, who had previously con- 
trolled the cities, enjoyed the privilege of electing half 
of the councilmen, but this law was repealed shortly 
after the battle won at Stockholm. He encouraged 
education and exerted a civilizing influence on the com- 


munity. By his foresight and that of the archbishop 
a charter was granted by the Pope for the establish- 
ment of a university at Upsala, which was founded 
and dedicated in the year 1477. Its growth and de- 
velopment were slow and it was not until one hundred 
years later that the university arrived at a status 
worthy of the first university of the North. It was 
about this time that printing was invented and intro- 
duced, and the first book was printed in Sweden. 

The union between the three kingdoms was still 
under consideration and constant negotiations went on 
for its restoration. The Swedes declined to take an 
active and enthusiastic part in 'the matter. There was 
nothing in the government of King Christian I. of 
Denmark and Norway that was encouraging for the 
Swedes. Several of the islands, such as Shetland and 
Orkney, which up to this time had been part of Nor- 
way, were lost during his reign. The unreasonable 
demands and frequent violence of the Hanseatic 
League, including the burning of a cloister, the mur- 
der of a bishop, and the assassination of other promi- 
nent men in Norway, were allowed to go unpunished. 
Although Chrlstig.n was in constant want of money, 
and though he could not help being aware of the com- 
mercial distress and the sufferings of his people, he 
kept an extravagant court, and made frequent expen- 
sive journeys to other countries. The only good that 
he can be said to have accomplished on these travels 
was when he succeeded in obtaining a charter from 
the pope for the erection of a university at Copenha- 
gen, which was founded in the year 1479. 

Sten Sture, Sr., and King Hans, also Known as 
John II. — There were born to King Christian I. and 

1448—1513. STURE AND HANS. 213 

Queen Dorothea two sons, Hans and Frederik, When 
Christian died in 1481 his two sons divided the gov- 
ernment of Schlesvig and Holstein between them, bnt 
Hans, being the older, was elected King of Denmark, 
In Norway, however, there was great opposition to him 
on the part of the powerful clergy, who were unfriend- 
ly towards Denmark, and the Norwegians sought as- 
sistance from Sten Sture; but when the Norwegians 
were left without the support of Sweden they were 
not able long to resist the influence of Denmark and 
Hans was elected King of Norway. On this occasion 
Hans was not declared the elected King until he had 
heedlessly signed a declaration of rights, which great- 
ly extended the privileges of the lords and diminished 
the prerogatives of the King. Negotiations had been 
in progress between Denmark and Sweden from the 
battle of Brunkeberg to the death of Christian, and al- 
though often broken off without issue, they resulted, 
shortly after the latter event, in a renewal of the 
Union by the treaty of Calmar in 1483 called, "Oalmaf 
Eecess." The conditions on which Hans, or John II. 
as he is commonly called, now received the crown of 
Sweden, sufficiently evinced by what interests the 
Union was really upheld. After a solemn recognition 
of all the privileges of the church, the plenipotentiaries 
of the three kingdoms agreed upon the the following, 
among other terms of settlement. 

1. The King, who was to be guided generally by the 
Council, and was to reside one year in each of the 
kingdoms alternately, was to conduct the government 
through good men, natives of the country, not setting 
over the people persons of mean birth; in the distri- 


bution of castles and fiefs, he was bound to have re- 
gard to the opinion of those members of his Council 
who resided in the district in which the appointment 
was to be made. 

2. The Council was to be composed of nobles of 
the realm, and as many of the clergy as should be 
found necessary; no new member was to be received 
without the consent of the rest, and eveiyone who sep- 
arated himself from his colleagues was to be expelled 
in disgrace; the keys of the register and treasury of 
each kingdom were to be committed to four councillors, 
who were bound to account for them and to be re- 
sponsible for their safe custody.. 

3. The King was precluded from buying any no- 
ble's estate, or acquiring a mortgage on it; on the 
other hand, a nobleman might hold crown estates in 
pledge without service or burden; the nobility had full 
liberty to fortify their houses, and might refuse the 
King access to them, while they were allowed to af- 
ford an asylum to those who had incurred the royal 

4. It is laid down that every good man, whether 
of the clergy or laity, should be King over his own peas- 
ants excepting in such cases as concerned the rights of 
the sovereign. "And though these were hard terms, 
yet King Hans promised with oath, letter, and seal, 
that he would hold by them." 

If the King violated his oath and acted contrary 
to the foregoing treaty the Swedes were absolved from 
their oath of allegiance and had a right to resist him 
in full armor. 

The Calmar Eecess of 1483 marks the highest point 
of aristocratic power in Sweden and shows the end 

1448—1513. STUEE AND HANS. 215 

towards which the efforts of the nobles were directed. 
They bartered the throne and the people for any privi- 
leges they could secure from a foreign King. The re- 
tribution was close at hand for their perfidy. 

Although Sten Sture had been present and taken 
part in the negotiations at Calmar for a union between 
the Kingdoms, he managed during the fourteen years 
succeeding to prevent the accomplishment of the treaty 
as entered into. On this account as w^l as for other 
reasons he soon awakened the enmity of several of 
the most influential lords temporal and spiritual and 
more particularly of Archbishop Ivar Tott and oth- 
ers. The archbishop, who owned the islands of Goth- 
land and Oland and several castles and provinces 
throughout the country, encouraged piracy along the 
coasts of Sweden and defied the administrator. 

Finally the dispute broke out into open war, and 
Sten Sture took possession of all the castles and other 
strongholds of the archbishop except Gothland, which 
the archbishop in the year 1487 surrendered to King 
Hans, thus anticipating the administrator. Friendly 
relations between Sten Sture and King Hans could 
now no longer exist on account of their confiicting 
interests. Disputes and recrimination began between 
the administrator and the Swedish Council and in addi- 
tion to these internal troubles the war between Eus- 
sia and Sweden finally led to an open rebellion. Dur- 
ing the administration of Sten Sture the Russians had 
time and again invaded Finland, without, however, 
causing the Swedish interests any particular injury. 
These wars were less dangerous so long as the republic 
of Novgorod was the neighbor of Sweden on the East, 


but at this time the republic was conquered by the 
Grand Duke Ivan of Moscow, who had succeeded in 
uniting all the Eussian provinces into a great and pow- 
erful empire. From this time on Eussia became a 
dangerous neighbor to Sweden. The war which had 
broken out between Sweden and Eussia was of little 
account prior to the year 1495, when the Eussians in- 
vaded Carelia and laid siege to Viborg. The Swedish 
army, under command of their great General Posse, 
gained a decisive victory over the Eussians, but he 
could not prevent them from committing ravages all 
through the country. Sten Sture brought over a large 
army to Finland, but he was not able to accomplish 
much on account of the plottings of the nobility at 
home upon whom he had to keep constantly a watch- 
ful eye. At this time he fell into a dispute with one 
of the generals, Swante Sture, a son of his old com- 
panion-in-arms, Nils Bosson, who had become his ene- 
my on account of some property disputes. Swante 
had defended Finland during Sten's absence and 
wanted to return home on the arrival of the adminis- 
trator, who became angry and called him a runaway. 
Exasperated by the treatment which he had received 
Swante returned to Sweden with his army, whither 
the administrator followed him soon after he had be- 
gun peace negotiations with the Eussians. After his 
return home the storm broke loose from all directions 
against the administrator. He was so overwhelmed 
with all sorts of accusations that the Council removed 
him in the year 1497, but he appealed against the de- 
cision of the Council to the inhabitants of Sweden and 
organized a new army which surrounded the castle 
of Staket where the archbishop and his friends were 

1448—1513. STURE AND HANS. 2lY 

besieged. King Hans came from Denmark to their 
assistance and marched an army through the country 
to Stockholm where he in turn surrounded and be- 
sieged Sten, and when the people from Dalarne came 
marching southward to his assistance the Danes hast- 
ened against them. A battle was fought and the re- 
sult favored King Hans; returning from their victory 
the Danes carried the Swedish banners before them, 
and thus deceived Sten, who, supposing them to be 
Swedes, marched out of the city to meet them only to 
be suddenly attacked and defeated on October 28, 1497. 
The adpiinistrator, who saw no means of escaping out 
of the dilemma, was compelled to xecognize King Hans 
as King of Sweden, whereupon he himself was appoint- 
ed governor of Finland. King Hans entered Stockholm 
in triumph, was elected King and crowned with great 
formality, on which occasion he dubbed several of the 
prominent lords knights of the realm. Two years lat- 
er the King's son. Christian, at a general Riksdag was 
elected heir apparent to the throne. 

King Hans was an intelligent, prudent and good- 
natured prince, who endeavored to perform his du- 
ties and govern the kingdom according to the laws, 
and to reconcile the contending parties. He endeav- 
ored to please all, yet did not succeed in satisfying. 
anyone, for the Swedes could not forget that it was 
by means of his army that he had entered Sweden 
and been elected King. Dissatisfaction soon broke 
out when misfortunes began to attend the ambitious 
endeavors of the King. He had striven for some time 
to conquer the peasants of Fri'esland, who had for a 
long time defended their liberty beTiind their canals 
and ditches against the encroachments of their op- 

218 l-llSTOEY OF SWEDEN. CIUl'. XV. 

pressors. At the head of a well equipped army of cav- 
alry he advanced into Ditmarschen. This army vs^as 
met by the peasants. near a place called Hemmingstet, 
a narrow pass surrounded by deep canals. The army, 
unable to manoeuvre, was thrown into confusion, and 
the proud cavalry were unable to defend themselves 
against the attacks of the peasants who rushed upon 
them, gaining a complete victory. King Hans was 
completely defeated and lost all hold of the province 
and even the strongly fortified place, Danebrog, in the 
year 1500. 

When news reached Sweden that the King had lost 
the battle of Ditmarschen the malcontents began to 
bestir themselves and to combine for common action 
against him. The leading spirit in this new conspir- 
acy was a certain doctor Hemming Gad, bishop-elect 
of Linkoping, a man of brilliant talents, learned, a 
fine orator, a good statesman, and very resourceful; 
at the same time he was ambitious and passionate; he 
cherished a bitter hatred against Denmark and had 
made it an object of his life to bring about a dissolution 
of the union between the two kingdoms. He succeed- 
ed in reconciling the former enemies, Sten and Swante 
Sture and in uniting them against King Hans. The 
King arrived at Stockholm shortly afterwards to try 
and satisfy their demands, but it was in vain. Shortly 
afterwards the Stures, Gad, and several other promi- 
nent lords combined to issue a proclamation that the 
King had forfeited all allegiance. 

This rebellion spread rapidly through the country 
and Sten Sture was for the second time elected ad- 
ministrator of the kingdom in 1501. The King had' 
hastened to Denmark to collect an army and had ap-. 

1448—1513. STUEE AND HANS. 219 

pointed as regent for Sweden the Queen Christina of 
Saxony; she was soon besieged by the Swedes but de- 
fended herself heroically at Stockholm for the space of 
eight months and did not surrender the castle until 
she was in the last extremity. The Danes, however, 
were soon driven from the country and all their en- 
deavors to recover it were futile. The struggle be- 
tween the contending factions was soon allayed and 
Queen Christina, who had for some time been kept a 
prisoner, was given her liberty and Sten Sture accom- 
panied her to the boundary of her own kingdom. On 
his return the administrator was suddenly seized with 
sickness and died in 1503. 

Swante Sture and King Hans. — The ambitious bish- 
op of Linkoping, Hemming Gad, next in power to the 
administrator in the Swedish government, kept the 
death of the administrator secret for some time until 
tlie Council of State was assembled. Swante Sture was 
unanimously elected administrator in January, 1504. 
He had proven himself on the field of battle a skilled 
commander and a man of courage, but he was wanting 
in political sagacity, and a large' portion of the internal 
administration of Sweden was left to the powerful 
Hemming Gad, who in reality was the joint ruler dur- 
ing the eight years of Sture's administration. 

Swante Sture was a valiant warrior, and a man of 
a bountiful and cheerful disposition. It was said of 
him proverbially that no one was admitted into his 
service who was observed to wink before the blow of 
a battle axe, and that he would rather strip himself 
of his clothes than suffer a fellow-soldier to go un- 
rewarded. He is censured as having tooked chiefly to 
the weal of the soldiery, but his government was one 


of almost incessant war. The people ascribed the pub- 
lic calamities to the circumstances of the time, and 
gratefully remembered on the other hand how the 
administrator, on entering the cot of a peasant, greet- 
ed the owner, his wife, and his children, with a grasp 
of the hand, sat with them at the same table, and' in- 
quired after their affairs with good natured courtesy. 
His assistant in the government, Hemming Gad, was 
a priest by vocation and learning, but not in mannej' 
and character, designated to the crosier, but never its 
actual possessor, and oftener seen at the head of an 
army or a fleet than at the altar; for the rest, well 
experienced in s^ate affairs and ardent in his hatred of 
the name of Denmark. 

Their government, for we may speak of it as con- 
joint, was an uninterrupted war with Denmark, car- 
ried on by yearly predatory expeditions, the intervals 
between them being taken up with negotiations and 
congresses, from which, if we learn little else from 
them, we at least, through the names of the negoti- 
ators, become acquainted with the persons who stood 
at the head of the peace party in Sweden. 

Among them we observe Lord Eric Trolle with a 
great proportion of the Council and all the bishops 
excepting Hemming Gad, who did not scruple public- 
ly to reproach the others with carrying Danish hearts 
under the mantle of Swedish bishops. Proposals 
were continually made for a new recognition of King- 
Hans, who appealed to the Emperor and the Pope, 
and obtained a declaration of outlawry against his 
Swedish foes, in which we find even the deceased Sten 
Sture included. 

Sten Sture the younger, a son of Swante Sture, the 

144S— 15ia STUEE AND HANS. 221 

noblest aud most chivalrous of his family, was on the 
death of his father in 1512 elected administrator of 
Sweden. He was greatly beloved by the common peo- 
ple for his endeavors to keep Danish influences out 
of the country. The nobles kept up their turbulent 
and rebellious spirit, some of them adhering to the 
Danish King, while others resisted his influence on 
Swedish affairs. 

King Hans or John of Denmark died February 21, 
1513, by some regarded as a good and honest man, yet 
fanatically religious and at the same time violent and 
cruel. During his reign the relations between Sweden 
and Denmark had consisted principally in peace nego- 
tiations alternated with war between the two coun- 
tries. Sten Sture had a rival and foe in the Arch- 
bishop of Upsala, Gustav Trolle, who through hatred 
of the Stures proved himself a traitor to his country, 
and brought worse troubles and more misery upon 
it than any that had hitherto fallen upon the unhappy 




Social and Political Condition of Sweden — Sweden an Elective Mon- 
archy — Eoyal Prerogatives Limited — Taxation-T:Fines — Clergy and 
Nobility — Administrator's Power — Council — Wealth of the Church 
and Power of the Priests — Influence in Elections — Castles of the 
Nobles — Burghers of the Cities — Numbers and Influence of the 
Sondes — Jealousy of Power — Jealousy between the Families — 
Christian II King in Denmark Connives with Archbishop Trolle — In- 
vades Sweden — Defeated by Stui-e — Archbishop Deposed — Christian 
II. Invades West Gothland — Sture Wounded — Christian becomes 
King of Sweden — Coronation — The Elood-bath of Stockholm — Mas- 
sacres — The Wrath of the Swedes — Calmar Union Dissolved — Danish 
Opinion of Christian II.— His Imprisonment and Death. 

At the time of King John's death in 1513, Sweden 
was as near to the point of anarchy as it well could be. 
A law-abiding and a liberty-loving people seemed to 
be without law and order. This condition of things 
may to some extent explain the barbaric conduct of 
Christian II. who now comes upon the scene. A short 
review of the social and political conditions of Swed- 
en during the close of the middle ages may give a 
better understanding of the revolution which is about 
to take place. 

Sweden was originally from the time of Yngve an 
elective monarchy and remained such down to 'the 
time of Gustavus Vasa; for though the children and 
nearest relations of tbe deceased Monarch were usual' 

1513—1521. CHRISTIAN II. 223 

ly advanced to the Throne, the order of birthright was 
sometimes neglected, and the succession was always 
determined by choice. And, by virtue of this right of 
election, the Swedes oftentimes claimed a power to 
depose their Sovereigns, when they encroached upon 
the liberty and privileges of the Nation, as was pro- 
vided by the old laws of the West Goths which 
declare: — "The Swedes have both right and power to 
elect and to dethrone their King." 

The royal authority was confined within very nar- 
row limits; for the King could neither make war nor 
peace, much" less raise money or soldiers without the 
consent of the Council, or of the Estates when they 
were assembled; it was not lawful for him to erect new 
forts, or to put the government of the old castles into 
the hands of strangers. The bringing of foreign troops 
into the kingdom would have infallibly exposed him 
to the danger of universal revolt; for everything that 
might serve to extend, or even confirm the royal pre- 
rogative was hated and suspected by the people, who 
were as jealous of the power of their sovereigns as of 
that of their neighbors and enemies. 

The patrimonial revenue of the crown consisted 
of certain small territories near Upsala called "Upsala 
Oede,"and other crown lands,and in a very easy tribute 
exacted from the people by way of poll-tax, which was 
graded according to the income. In the reign of King 
Magnus Ladulas the copper mines, the proprietary 
rights of the three great lakes, Malar, Vaner and Vet- 
ter, and the rights of fishing upon the coast of the Bal- 
tic Sea were by the Council reunited to the crown; and 
by the same authority it was ordained that they who 
had purchased tmtilled lands held in fee, or a right 


to pasturage in the forests, should afterwards pay 
those duties to the crown, from which they had freed 
themselves during the civil wars. Since, by the laws 
of the kingdom, there were few offenses punishable 
with death, the fines and forfeitures that were exacted 
on such occasions were of old a considerable branch 
of the King's revenue; but the bishops and clergy had 
seized on the profits which accrued that way, and per- 
haps colored their justice under a pretext that these 
fines belonged to the church, as a kind of expiation or 
atonement for the crimes of the malefactors. 

The fees of manors and the governorship of castles, 
which at first were only granted for life, or for a term 
of years, were insensibly changed to hereditary pos- 
sessions; for the nobles who enjoyed them neglected 
the payment of the usual duties for those posts which 
they held by no other title but their own power and 
the weakness of the crown. And the bishops and oth- 
ers of the clergy who were possessed of such places 
made use of the plausible pretext of religion to claim 
an exemption from the taxes they were in duty bound 
to pay for those estates which, as they pretended, had 
devolved to the church and become part of its patri- 
mony. Thus the clergy and nobility had, by several 
usurpations, absorbed so great a part of the Prince's 
revenue, that the remainder at that time was scarcely 
sufficient to maintain five hundred horse. The King 
was considered little more than the captain-general of 
the state during war, and president of the Council in 
time of peace. It is true that the King or Administra- 
tor was always most favorable to the prerogative, espe- 
daily when the war was carried on with success 
against the enemies of the nation; but the conclusion 

1513—1521. CHEISTIAN II. 225 

of a peace put a stop to his growing authority, and' 
left him only the power to call a meeting of the Estates, 
to propose matters for their deliberation, and to exe- 
cute their decrees. 

The public authority was almost entirely lodged 
in the Council, which was usually composed of twelve 
lords, who for the most part were governors of prov- 
inces, or principal officers of state. These lords at- 
tended the King at Stockholm, the capital city of the 
kingdom, when any important affairs were to be trans- 
acted. The archbishop of Upsala, primate of Sweden, 
was a councillor by virtue of his ofl&ce; and the six 
bishops of the kingdom bore great sway in the meet- 
ing of the Estates, though they had no right to sit in 
the Council unless they were nominated by the King, 
or chosen by the Estates during an interregnum. The 
dignity of councillor was not hereditary, for the nom- 
ination of these ofl&cers was a branch of the royal pre- 
rogative; and some of the bishops, or principal lords 
of the kingdom, were selected to fill vacant places by 
the King, who in this way had a fair opportunity to 
introduce his friends and creatures into the Council. 
But he was frequently disappointed in his choice, and 
for the most part lost a friend when he made him a 
councillor; for the nearer a favorite was advanced to 
his master's power and authority the farther removed 
he was from his interest Add to this that love of lib- 
erty and affection for their country were in those days 
the predominant passions of the Swedes, and that no 
engagement or obligation could weaken the bias of so 
powerful an inclination. 

The Council which at first was only instituted as 
an advisory body, had by degrees assumed authority 


over the King's actions. The eldest councillor claimed 
the right to admonish and check the Prince when he 
transgressed the limits of his prerogative. The peo- 
ple looked upon the councillors as the protectors of 
the liberties and privileges of the nation. The sover- 
eign power and majesty of the state was properly- 
lodged in that body. There justice was administered 
independently and without appeal, and both war and 
peace depended on their deliberations. It is true they 
acted conjointly witji the King, but he was oftentimes 
obliged to content himself with the honor of execut- 
ing their resolutions. 

The clergy were possessed of greater riches than 
the King and all the other Estates of the kingdom. 
The archbishop of Upsala and his six suffragans main- 
tained their dignity with all the splendor that a vast 
treasure could enable them to display. They were 
for the most part the temporal lords of their episcopal 
Sees, and besides the possessions that were annexed 
to their bishoprics, which consisted in much landed 
property and various castles, they had made them- 
selves heirs to all the ecclesiastics that died intestate 
in their respective dioceses, and thus by degrees had 
very greatly augmented tieir revenues. They enjoyed 
the profits of fines and forfeitures, which formerly be- 
longed to the crown, and by several foundations and 
pious legacies had made themselves masters of a con- 
siderable number of the King's manors and fees. The 
patrimony of the church was daily augmented by 
donations, but could never be diminished by sale or 
alienation, for such practices were forbidden by ex- 
press ecclesiastical laws, which were as prejudicial 
to the laity as they were advantageous to the clergy, 

1513—1521. CHRISTIAN II. 227 

and served only to establish the grandeur of the latter 
upon the ruins of the former. 

The bishops made such good use at elections of the 
influence they had over the people and of the need 
a pretender had of their votes and interest, that they 
obtained on such occasions certain privileges which 
very considerably diminished both the revenue and 
aathority of the Prince. They exacted what conditions 
they pleased of the King before they would acknowl- 
edge him as their sovereign; and before they would 
perform the ceremony of his coronation they obliged 
him to swear that he would inviolably uphold them in 
the possession of their rights and privileges, that he 
would never attempt to put a garrison into any of 
their castles or forts, that the lands and manors which 
they enjoyed, by what means whatsoever they had 
come into possession of them, should not be re-united 
to the crown; and at the same time they made him 
sign a paper, declaring that he consented to his own 
deposition, if ever he should violate his oath by en- 
croaching upon their privileges. 

These prelates grew so proud of their riches, and 
of the number of their vassals, that they began by 
degrees to act like so many little sovereigns. They 
fortified their castles and kept garrisons in them. They 
never appeared without a numerous attendance of 
gentlemen and soldiers, and were to be found at the 
head of all factions and intrigues. They frequently 
took up arms against their neighbors about differences 
relating to their vassals or to the limits of their 
estates; and sometimes did not even scruple to march 
at the head of an army against their sovereign, espe- 
cially when they suspected him of a design to recover 

228 HISTORY 03? SWEDE]*. CHAP. XVl. 

the duties and lands that belonged to the crown. 

The lords and gentlemen fortified their castles and 
made them the seats of their petty empires. They 
treated their vassals like menial servants, though they 
allowed them no wages; they made them till their 
lands, and oftentimes put them in arms to make in- 
cursions into the territories of their neighbors. The 
Swedish nobility was not then distinguished by the 
titles of Baron, Count or Marquis, or by hereditary 
names of families. They were known by the respect- 
ive arms of their houses, and by their father's name 
which they bore jointly with their own, and were not- 
ed for their valor, and for the numerous train of vas- 
sals that followed them to battle. They defended their 
rights and revenged the injuries they received by force 
of arms, and neither sought nor expected redress from 
public courts of justice,because the government had no 
power to carry the laws into execution. Force was the 
standard of law and justice, and the supreme arbiter of 
all sorts of controversies. 

The burghers of Stockholm, and the inhabitants 
of other maritime towns, who subsisted merely by 
trading, were more submissive to the King, and bet- 
ter affected to the government. The merchants 
especially were so disheartened by the license which 
exposed them to the insolence of every potent op- 
pressor, that they would willingly have consented to 
invest the King with sufficient authority to restore 
the public quiet, and to establish the trade of, the na- 
tion in a flourishing condition; but there were so few 
cities in the kingdom, that their deputies had no great 
interest, and were not much regarded in the Eiksdag. 
The bondes on the contrary, who in Sweden have 

1513—1521. CHRISTIAN II. 22& 

the peculiar privilege of sending deputies of their own 
order to, and forming one of the Estates of the Riks- 
dag, out of blind obedience to their lords were obsti- 
nate asserters of the liberties and privileges of their 
provinces. Those who lived in fertile countries ap- 
plied themselves to husbandry; but in Helsingland, 
Gestricland, Angermanland, and other Northern prov- 
inces, they spent their time in hunting fallow deer, 
which furnished them with meat for their subsistence 
and skins for the Prince's tribute. They were men of 
sturdy character, lovers of their liberties, for the most 
part bred in the woods, jealous of their customs; and 
having little to lose, they were ready upon the least 
occasion to rise up in arms and revolt against the 
government or their oppressors. Idolatry was still 
openly practiced in some of their villages while Chris- 
tianity was professed in others; but their religion was 
so disfigured by an admixture of their ancient super- 
stitions that they scarcely retained more of it than the 
bare name of christians. 

The bondes were the most numerous and powerful 
body in the state; some of them held immediately 
of the crown, sending deputies to the Riksdag, and 
the rest were vassals of the clergy and nobility. 
Though the tribute they paid to the King was very 
light and inconsiderable, he was oftentimes obliged to 
levy it by force, and to send some regular troops to 
the forests and mountains for the security of those 
who were appointed to collect his dues. They seldom 
or never contributed their assistance to the preserva- 
tion of the state except as soldiers; and even in that 
case they thought themselves obliged only to defend 
the frontiers of their respective provinces, and always 


claimed the privilege of choosing their own leaders. 
In all other respects they lived almost without any 
dependence upon the^court, and even without any 
union or concord among themselves; being equally in- 
capable of association and submission, and affecting 
rather an unreasonable independence than a generous 

If we reflect upon the independence of the subjects, 
the limited authority of the sovereign, and the dif- 
ferent interests of the several orders that composed the 
state, it will not appear strange that the kingdom was 
almost perpetually harassed by insurrections and civil 
wars. Most of the Kings aspired to a more absolute 
authority, and some of them, by the assistance of their 
friends and creatures, endeavored to make themselves 
masters of the government, and to shake off their 
dependence on the Council; but the people were so fat 
from being unconcerned spectators of an open viola- 
tion of the liberties and privileges of the nation, that 
the faintest indication of a tendency towards arbitrary 
power occasioned universal revolt, and re-united all 
the Estates against the King. 

The bishops were afraid of reprisals under too pow- 
erful a Prince, who might seize his alienated revenues, 
and perhaps confine the clergy within the limits of 
their profession. The noblemen took up arms to de- 
fend the privileges that made them in a manner inde- 
pendent, and the bondes, without comprehending their 
true interests, fought with the utmost vigor and 
obstinacy for the preservation of certain customs that 
were useless to the public but agreeable to their sav- 
age temper. The whole kingdom was a perpetual 
scene of sedition, desolation, and revolt. The fate of 

1513—1521. CHRISTIAN II. 231 

the King seemed to be in tlie hands of his subjects, and 
to depend on their capricious humor, and several 
Princes were driven out of the kingdom for attempt- 
ing to make themselves absolute. 

The jealousy that reigned among the principal 
families of the kingdom made them willing to retain 
the title and dignity of a King, while at the same 
time they resolved to bestow that honor only upon a 
foreign Prince, who, having no private estate in the 
kingdom, and being wholly destitute of relations and 
creatures, might be obliged to content himself with 
as much authority as they thought fit to allow him. 

Such were the conditions in Sweden at the time 
when Christian II. was crowned King at Stockholm. 
He began by applying the pruning knife to the many 
bad outgrowths on the tree, supposing that in this way 
he would save the stem from utter destruction. But 
the task was too great for him and he perished in the 
attempt. Yet he undoubtedly helped to prepare 
the social and political conditions of the country for 
a new order of things and for a reform which under 
other and less favorable circumstances could not have 
been accomplished. 

Christian II., called in Sweden The Tyrant, after his 
father King John's death succeeded to the crown of 
Denmark; he was already administrator in Norway 
where he had begun his bloody work, and now laid 
claim to the government of Sweden. War broke out 
in 1516 when Christian II. brought an army on his fleet 
to Stockholm in connivance with Archbishop Trolle, 
who raised an army in Sweden to assist him. They 
were defeated by Sten Sture, and the archbishop at a 
Eiksdag of Arboga was declared to have forfeited his 


office, and his castle was demolished. Next year Chris- 
tian II. landed an army near Stockholm, but was 
again defeated by Sten Sture and compelled to de- 
part. Christian arranged a parley with his opponent 
during which several of the Swedish nobles were given 
him as hostages and he sailed away with them as pris- 
oners of war. 

In 1520 Christian with his army broke into Sweden 
for the third time. Sten Sture met the invaders in 
West Gothland. He was wounded at the opening of 
the battle, and his army being without a competent 
leader was defeated and dispersed. Christina, the 
heroic widow of Sten Sture, defended Stockholm. 
Upon the death of Sten Sture the Swedish govern- 
ment was dissolved, and Christian II. vv^as elected King 
of Sweden by the nobles on condition that he should 
govern according to the laws of the land, and swear to 
uphold them. Gustavus Trolle was now restored to 
his archiepiscopal office, and terrible was the vengeance 
that he induced the tyrannous King to inflict ilpon his 

Christian II. was crowned King in Stockholm in the 
autumn of 1520 with great festivities, to which all the 
great men of Sweden had been invited. A general am- 
nesty for all past political offences had been proclaimed. 
This amnesty was a mere pretext by King Christian 
to induce the councillors of state, the nobility, and the 
clergy to attend his coronation and to be caught in the 
trap and brought to the block secretly prepared for 

On the third day of the solemnities which followed 
the coronation the gates of the castle of Stockholm 
were unexpectedly barred, and Archbishop Gustav- 

1513—1521. CHRISTIAN 11. 233 

US Trolle came into the King's presence, to complain 
of the violence and injuries suffered by himself and 
the archiepiscopal See of Upsala, at the hands of the 
deceased administrator, for which he now demanded 
satisfaction. He was probably himself ignorant of the 
atrocities, in the perpetration of which he was to be 
instrumental. He is said, as we may conclude from a 
contemporary account, to have maintained that the 
question of punishment and compensation must be re- 
ferred to Rome, but the King negatived his proposal, 
declaring that the matter should be adjudicated forth- 
with. As the prelate's charges were really directed 
against Sture, his widow Christina Gyllenstjerna stood 
up and appealed to the resolution of the Estates at the, 
Eiksdag whereby Gustavus Trolle was unanimously 
declared to have forfeited his dignity, and which the 
principal spiritual and secular lords had subscribed 
under an express obligation to common responsibility. 
Such of these as were now present, and among them 
two bishops, were immediately seized and thrown into 
prison; the remainder were confined over night in the 
castle, the clergy in a separate chamber. Next morn- 
ing the question was proposed to them, whether it was 
not heresy to confederate and conspire against the 
holy See of Eome, which they were constrained to an- 
swer in the affirmative. This was regarded as confes- 
sion of guilt and by themselves as a delivery of 
sentence and condemnation. On the same morning 
public proclamation was made that the inhabitants 
of Stockholm should not quit their houses before a 
signal was given. It was the 8th of November, 1520. 
Towards mid-day the burghers were summoned to the 
great market place, upon which the captives were now 


led forth; there were Matthias, bishop of Strengnas, 
who had labored harder to advance the Danish party 
than any other man in Sweden, Vincent, bishop of 
Skara, twelve temporal lords, most of them council- 
lors of state, and lastly the burgomasters and council 
of Stockholm, with many of the burghers. 

Nicholas Lycke, a Danish knight, spoke to the peo- 
ple, and exhorted them not to be alarmed at what was 
about to happen, saying that Archbishop Gustavus 
Trolle had thrice adjured the King upon his knees to 
suffer that this punishment should overtake the guilty. 
At this Bishop Vincent raised his voice, exclaiming 
that not a word was true, and that the King was play- 
ing the traitor towards the Swedes. Several of the 
captives began to make speeches to the same effect, 
but were silenced by the executioners. All were be- 
headed, the consolations of religion being denied them. 
Handicraftsmen were dragged from their work to the 
slaughter; and bystanders were also pulled into the 
circle by the headsmen, who did their bloody ofllce 
upon them, because they had been seen to weep. The 
brothers Olave and Lawrence Petri escaped a like fate 
only from the circumstance that a German who had 
known them in Wittenberg protested that they were 
not Swedes. Olaus Magnus saw ninety-four persons 
beheaded; others were hanged or butchered with the 
keenest torments. During the night the houses of the 
killed were plundered, and the women outraged. The 
assassinations were continued for a second and third 
day, after public proclamation of peace and security 
had enticed new victims from their retreat The 
corpses lay for three days in the market place, before 
they were carried out of the town and burned at 

1513—1521. CHRISTIAN 11. 235 

Sodermalm. Sten Sture's body with that of one of 
his children was torn from the grave and cast upon 
the funeral pile. Before the massacre had terminated, 
the King despatched letters to all the provinces stating 
that he had caused Sten Sture's chief abettors to be 
disciplined for heresy and placed under the ban 
of the church, according to the sentence of the bishops, 
prelates, and wisest men of Sweden, and that he would 
hereafter govern the kingdom in peace after the laws 
of St. Eric. Meanwhile the massacre, in conformity 
with his command, was extended to Finland, where 
Hemming Gad was not saved by his defection from 
laying his head, at the age of eighty, upon the block. 
The King's whole progress from Stockholm continued 
to be marked by the same cruelties, not even the in- 
nocence of childhood being spared. More than six 
hundred had fallen before he quitted the Swedish ter- 
ritory, at the beginning of 1521. 

Christian II. having thus removed from his path 
by execution, banishment, or imprisonment many of 
the prominent Swedes, considered himself secure on 
the throne; but as soon as his barbarous conduct be- 
came known to the people, they were seizied with hor- 
rdr, wrath, and indignation against a man who could 
commit such barbarities. The Primate Trolle who in 
the name of the Catholic religion had advised the mas- 
sacre did not escape the retribution that followed. 

The Swedish people rose to a man against these 
oppressors. The whole North was shaken to its foun- 
dation. The union between the three Scandinavian 
kingdoms was dissolved, the old social and religious 
conditions were modified and the ancient system of 
government was overthrown. After that bloody day 


of November 8, 1520, the Swedish people rose like a 
phoenix from the ashes, and thenceforwaM advanced 
triumphantly, becoming within 150 years the arbiters 
of Europe. 

Christian II. did not long enjoy the fruits of his 
bloody victory. He left Sweden for Denmark with a 
trail of blood behind him too revolting to describe. 
The Danish historians have given the King credit for 
accomplishing some good in his day and generation. 
A man in such an exalted positiois as that of a King- 
ought to achieve some good in the world. The social 
conditions of the people of the North were peculiar. 
Property and wealth had become concentrated in the 
hands of a few temporal nobles or in the hands of the 
clergy. These two powerful factions oppressed all 
their inferiors; and in Denmark particularly the peas- 
ants had been reduced to the condition of serfs. His- 
tory must give Christian II. credit for having curbed the 
tyranny of the nobles and enacted laws which gave 
the peasants of Denmark freedom. It was his hatred 
of the powerful nobles which impelled him to the exe- 
cution of many of this unruly despotic class. They 
also hated him generously. One day in April, 1523, 
Christian II. found in a glove which he was about to 
draw on, a crumpled paper in which his Danish nobles 
announced to him, that they had elected his uncle 
Frederik to be their King. Christian in his alarm lost 
his courage and his head; without any attempt to de- 
fend himself and to fight for his crown, for which he 
had shed so much blood, he fled with his family and 
Ins treasures, intending to escape to Germany; but 
he was soon captured and imprisoned in a dungeon of 
one of the Danish castles where he spent the rest of 
his life. He died in 1559. 




Gustavus' Birth— His Family— His Cliildhood— Imprisonment— Escape— 
Concealment in Dalarne — Elected Chief — Seizes the Copper Mines— 
His Army Increases — Trolle and the Danes March against Him 
with 8,000 Men^-Danes Defeated — Victories of Gustavus — Influence 
on the Public Mind — Gustavus Administrator — War Continued — 
Treaty with the Hansa — Norby Sails from Stockholm — Gustavus ^ 
Elected King — Enters Stockholm — Power of the Church — Independ- 
ent of the Government — Canon Law — Nobles and Clergy Favor the 
Union — Disorders Throughout the Kingdom — Struggles of Gustavus 
— Reformation — The Petri — Andrew — Translation of New Testa- 
ment — Gustavus' Relation with Pope — Johannes Magnus Archbishop 
— Meeting at UpsaJa — Magnus Departs for Rome — Insurrection in 
Dalarne — Christian II. Attempts to Regain the Throne. 

Gustavus Vasa, born on May 12, 1496, was de- 
scended from an old Swedish family which had given 
members of the Council of State for not less than two 
centuries. At an early age he was placed in the Uni- 
persity of Upsala where he pursued his studies for some 
years, though the story goes that he was not always a 
model student. In 1514, when about eighteen years 
of age, he was received into the family of Sten Sture 
the younger, then administrator of Sweden, where he 
was introduced to military and court life. He made 
good use of his opportunities. He first bore arms in 
the feud between Sten Sture the Younger and Arch- 
lt>ishop Gustavus Trolle, the instigator of the Stoc^- 


holm Blood-bath by Christian The Tyrant Gustavus 
Vasa was distinguished for valor, persuasive elo- 
quence, and a joyous temperament. In 1518, when 
King Christian failed in his attempt to take Stock- 
holm, Gustavus and five other noblemen were placed 
as hostages on the Danish ships, during a parley be- 
tween the King and Sture, and were treacherously car- 
ried prisoners to Denmark, where Gustavus was com- 
mitted to the keeping of Baron Baner, his kinsman, 
and confined in the castle. Early one morning he 
made his escape, fled to Lubeck, whence he crossed the 
Baltic in a merchant vessel, and landed in Sweden 
near the city of Calmar, where the castle was still 
being held and defended by the courageous woman 
Anna Bjelke against the Danish fleet which besieged 
the place. Gustavus left Calmar and sought refuge 
among the country farmers while wandering North- 
ward pursued by Danish spies. A high price had been 
set upon his head by. Christian II. and he was not safe 
anywhere. In 1520, when Christian II. came to Stock- 
holm with his fleet and army to be crowned King of 
Sweden, Gustavus Vasa was concealed on his father's 
estate Eaefness, and here the information reached him 
that his father, brother-in-law, and other Swedish 
lords, bishops, and burghers had been murdered in the 
Blood-bath of Stockholm. 

Gustavus Vasa now fled to the province of Dalarne 
for the purpose of arousing the patriotic Dalcarlar 
to take up arms against the treacherous Danes, and 
to drive them out of the country. He encountered new 
dangers and was more than once on the verge of cap- 
tivity. At Christmas, 1520, he addressed the Dal- 
carlar at their church services. He pictured with 



great eloquence the barbarities committed by King, 
Christian and the Danish faction at Stockholm six 
weeks previously, and throughout the land; and he ap- 
pealed to them as having under Engelbert driven the 
enemy out of the country to again take up arms for 
the liberation of Sweden. The Danish bailiffs were 
close on his heels, and his escapes were on several oc- 
casions miraculous. Once he escaped falling into their 
hands by the presence of mind of a Dale woman who 
struck him with a broom, and ordered him out tO' tend 
the cattle instead of looking curiously at his pursuers 
who were then enquiring for him. The bailiff took 
him for a servant instead of the quarry they were 
hunting for. Another time he was carted in a load 
of hay; the bailiffs pierced the load with their spears 
and wounded GustavuS, but the faithful driver wound- 
ed his horse and made the pursuers believe that the 
blood on the snow had dripped from the wound of the 
horse and not from that of Gustavus. Many are the 
places in the province of Dalame to this day shown by 
the people where the future deliverer and King labored 
or was hidden during the early part of his career. 
About the year 1.521 Lawrence Alaveson, an officer of 
great experience in the service of Sten Sture the 
younger, and John Michelson, a noble, came to the 
province of Dalame and confirmed the reports of the 
murder of the first men and women of the land at 
Stockholm and throughout the country. 

The Dalcarlar met in great numbers at Mora where 
they elected Gustavus Vasa to be "Lord and Chieftain 
over them and the commons and realm of Sweden." 
Sixteen active and powerful young men were selected 
as his bodyguard, and several hundred young men 

1521—1560. GUSTAVUS VASA. _ . 241 

offered their services, and so became the nucleus of 
the future army that was to deliver Sweden from the 
foreign intruders. In February, 1521, Gustavus ap- 
peared with several hundred men at the Royal Kop- 
parberg, the chief mine, where he seized all the treas- 
ure, which he used to pay his soldiers and to enlist 
a more numerous army. 

Christian II. had appointed as his representative 
or Vice Eegent Theodore Slayhock, who sent Arch- 
bishop Trolle and Henry of Mellen with an army of 
8,000 troops, mostly Danes and Germans, into the 
province of Dalarne to quell the rebellion of Gustavus 
and the Dalcarlar. The two armies met on the Dale 
river at the ferry of Burnsback. The insurgent forces 
were divided, and while the main body made an at- 
tack in front, another division attacked the King's 
army in the flank and routed it. Gustavus now 
marched his army, which had greatly increased in num- 
ber, into the province of Westmanland, and attacked 
Vesteras. The army was divided into two commands 
under the two generals Lawrence Ericson and Law- 
rence Olafson. The Danish army was attacked in the 
front and in the rear, and after a bloody fight large 
numbers were left on the field, and the remainder put 
to flight. 

This second victory of Gustavus produced a great 
effect on public opinion. Many who heretofore were 
on the side of Christian and the Union, now declared 
openly for Gustavus, and he was everywhere hailed 
as the deliverer of Sweden. One castle after another 
opened its gates to him, and the provinces in rapid 
succession declared allegiance to his cause. All the 
Danish leaders or sympathizers were captured or dig- 


persed except Christian's able representative, Severin 
.Norby, who still held Stockholm where he was lying 
with the Danish squadron, which gave him the control 
of the sea. , 

In the month of August, 1521, Gustavus Vasa con- 
voked a Riksdag of the grandees at Vadstena, which 
was attended by seventy of them, as well as by many 
other persons of all classes in Sweden. They made 
him a tender of the crown, which he refused, but on 
the 24th of August, 1521, the Estates swore fealty and 
obedience to him as administrator of the kingdom. 

The war still continued, as Severin Norby, who was 
holding Stockholm, received successive reinforcements 
by sea; and for nearly two years the fortunes of war 
seemed to be alternately on one side and the other. 
Then Gustavus formed a treaty with the Hansa cities, 
who sent him a fleet for the relief of Stockholm. 
Severin Norby evacuated the city and sailed out of the 
harbor in time to escape the combined attack by sea 
and land. 

Gustavus Vasa had, by the assistance of the 
bondes, delivered the Swedish people from the tyrau- 
nous rule of Christian II. Lest any further complica- 
tions should arise a Eiksdag met at Strengnas at 
which, on June 7, 1523, the representatives of the 
people elected Gustavus Vasa King of Sweden. Thus 
was the tinion dissolved after it had lasted one 
hundred and twenty years. On June 24th, 1523, Gus- 
tavus made his entry into Stockholm. 

When Gustavus Vasa, after being elected King, 
entered Stockholm, his capital, he found the city in 
ruins. More than half of the houses were vacant, and 
the people were impoverished by the long siege. The 

1&21— 1560. GUSTAVUS VASA. 243 

spectacle which here met his eye could be witnessed 
throughout the larger portion of his kingdom — pov- 
erty, disorder, and lawlessness. The dissolution of the 
Union had left ruin behind it. The grandees, the 
prelates, and the clerical party were almost uniformly 
in favor of the Union, and had taken sides with the 
Danes, while the bondes and common people had even 
in Engelbert's time been opposed to it and eager for 

Large tracts of Swedish land at this time belonged 
to the crown, but several of the grandees had come 
into possession of these lands as well as of the crown 
castles; they had also obtained the privilege of col- 
lecting the taxes and imposts, which they then kept 
and appropriated to their own use. They levied un- 
reasonable taxes, and took all their property from 
the bondes if this unfortunate class could not, or would 
not, comply with their demands. These grandees usu- 
ally kept an armed retinue and engaged in frequent 
petty wars with each other. They were a constant men- 
ace to the royal prerogative, and often rose in rebellion 
against the constituted authorities. The administrat- 
ors and Kings of Sweden had for several centuries 
formed an alliance with the farmer, or bonde class, 
who were always struggling against the aristocracy, 
whose endeavor it was to enslave them. 

The Eoman catholic church had gained great power 
since the introduction of Christianity into Sweden. 
She pursued the same course there as elsewhere in Eu- 
rope, securing large amounts of real and personal 
property, which were held free of taxes and other bur- 
dens laid upon the rest of the community. The 
spiritual lords had secured from some early and weak 


Kings church laws that placed the clergy outside the 
jurisdiction of the civil law. The church might be 
regarded as a foreign power established within yet 
independent of the kingdom, which in the absence ot 
any supreme civil authority looked well after its own 
interests. Its dignitaries constituted the most power- 
ful pprtion of the aristocracy, the more so, as the 
bishops were also holders of temporal fiefs. They were 
favorable to the Union, and hostile to the patriotic 
party. Engelbert, King Charles Knutson and the 
Stures were in constant conflict with this hierarchical 
class. A revengeful archbishop opened the way for 
Christian the Tyrant to the tfirone. Gustavus TroUe 
was the most detested man in Sweden. The eyes of the 
Swedish people were opened to the hypocrisy of the 
priests and showed little respect for them and their 
religion, which in the light of the Bible was classed as 
merely human invention. The church was, compar- 
atively speaking, by far the richest corporation of the 
country, and through the lower clergy exercised great 
influence over the common people. 

All commerce and all industries had been para- 
lyzed by the long civil war. The means of transporta- 
tion by land and sea were in a deplorable condition. 

While things were in this chaotic state Gustavus 
came to the throne. He struggled manfully to bring 
order out of confusion, and succeeded not only in es- 
tablishing his authority but also in introducing the 
reformation into Sweden; he set up schools among the 
people, and encouraged commerce, mining, and other 
industries, which speaks well for his character and 
places him among the great benefactors of mankind. 

The great reformation in Germany and other parts 

1521—1560. GUSTAVtrS VASA. 246 

of Europe spread at this time to Sweden and other 
parts of the Scandinavian peninsula. Two young 
m,onks, the brothers Olave Petri and Lawrence Petri, 
who had for some time been students under Martin 
Luther and Melanchthon at Wittenberg, Germany, 
were destined to become leaders in the introduction of 
the Lutheran doctrines into Sweden. 

Olave Petri returned to Sweden in 1519, and with 
great boldness began to preach the new doctrine at 
Strengnas. Lawrence Andrew, the vicar at Streng- 
nas, a man of great learning, sagacity, and tact, was 
convinced that popery consisted mainly of human in- 
vention. He translated the New Testament into Swed- 
ish, and Gustavus ordered his version to be printed 
and distributed. He became a favorite with the King, 
who soon became convinced that the Swedish Church 
was ripe for the reformation. Gustavus also employed 
the religious agitation as a means to deprive the pre- 
lates, bishops, and clergy of their enormous wealth and 
influence. Their influence he checked, and their wealth 
and the superfluous church property he seized for the 
benefit of the impoverished government. 

Gustavus appointed the reformer Lawrence An- 
drew as his chancellor, and Olave Petri was installed 
as rector primarius at the Cathedral of Stockholm. 
The King continued to keep up a friendly correspond- 
ence with the Pope, but when the Vatican demanded 
that the traitorous archbishop Gustavus Trolle should 
be restored to his office, its demands were rejected. 
King Gustavus deposed several of the bishops with- 
out consulting or referring the matter to Eome. He 
proposed Johannes Magnus for archbishop, whoi was 
the last catholic bishop elected primate of S^edea 


The new archbishop was a learned man, but vain, and 
lacked that strength of character needed for the ex- 
alted position he was called upon to fill during these 
agitated times. At any rate he did not venture to op- 
pose the King in his movement toward reform. 

In May 1526 Gustavus paid a visit to Upsala. The 
archbishop Johannes Magnus received him with great 
pomp and ceremony outside the gate of the city. Gus- 
tavus entered the city with his chancellor, Lawrence 
Andrew, on his left, and the archbishop on his right. 
The archbishop had prepared a great feast for the 
King and his retinue. At- the banqueting table were 
two elevated seats, one for the King and one for the 
archbishop. It was noticeable that the archbishop 
was served with better silver and dishes, and better 
food and wine than the King. The archbishop es- 
teemed his exalted position as higher than that of the 
King, the former being spiritual and the latter tempor- 
al, and took no pains to conceal the fact, to the great 
chagrin of Gustavus. At the close of the banquet the 
archbishop filled his gold goblet with wine, and ad- 
dressing the King said — "Our Grace drinks to the 
health of your Grace!" The King retorted: ''Our 
Gra,ce and thy Grace have not room sufficient under 
one roof," and thereupon he arose and left the banquet- 
ing hi^ll. , Gustavus let the primate understand that in 
his capacity as King of Sweden he was superior in rank 
to all temporal and spiritual lords, and that they all 
must show due respect to his royal dignity. 

He did not, however, break off his intercourse with 
the archbishop, but it was carried on in such a way 
that the office of archbishop not long after became 
vacant. Under a pretext that one of the most exalted 

1521—1560. GUSTAVUS VASA. 247 

men of the realm should go to Poland and Russia, Gus- 
tavus sent Magnus the archbishop as special ambas- 
sador to those countries. Johannes Magnus never re- 
turned to Sweden but having performed his missions 
he journeyed to Italy and there he spent the remainder 
of his days at Rome. Here he did his native country 
a great service by w^riting a "History of Sweden" which 
was printed in Rome, a work of exceedingly great value 
and deep interest. Bishop Brask of Linkoping, on 
the contrary, though at one time friendly to the King 
became his bitter opponent, an act which at last by 
his voluntary banishment cost him his diocese. 

The Insurrection of the Dalcarlar.— By the year 1525 
new dangers began to threaten the throne of Gustavus. 
The prelates Peder Jacobson and one Oanut, who had 
been expelled from their offices, undertook to start an 
insurrectionamong the people of Dalarne. Gustavus 
had directed his tax collectors to take from each par- 
ish church part of the silver, and also the bells, if there 
were more than one in the tower, to be applied to 
the reduction of the government debts. This order 
outraged the Dalcarlar and at the instigation of the 
clergy they took up arms, and drove the tax gatherers 
out of the country. They also sent threatening letters 
to King Gustavus. 

A new attempt was made in 1525 to restore Chris- 
tian II. to the Swedish throne. Severin Norby and the 
traitorous Mehlen formed an alliance with the deposed 
prelates and other rebellious spirits who succeeded in 
raising a considerable army in the outlying provinces. 
Gustavus met them with his well trained troops, and 
subdued the rebellion. A second rebellion among the 
Dalcarlar was also subdued. The ringleaders on 




both occasions were arrested and executed. This was 
a severe blow to the popish clergy who had heretofore 
claimed that as spiritual officers they could perform 
any act with impunity, and were answerable only to 
the See of Eome. 




'gUSTAVUS VASA. (Continued.) 


Vesteras Synod — Gustavus and Reformation — Riksdag of Vesteras— 
King's Message — Answer by Clergy and Nobles — Gustavus Offers to 
Resign Crown — Recess of Vesteras — Gustavus Crowned King — In- 
surrections — Gustavus' Difficult Position — His Triumphs — War witli 
Lubeck — Crown Hereditary — War with Russia — ^Success — ^Treaty oi 
Peace — The Army and Navy — Industries — Intellectual developments 
— The King and His Character. 

Gustavus by this time had begun to take sides 
openly with the reformers, though at first cautiously. 
He urged the clergy to introduce the Old and New 
Testament into the churches and communities under 
their charge, and to preach the gospel, and not the 
inventions and fables of popery. 

In order that the religious disputes ,which now 
agitated and convulsed the Swedish people might be 
settled for or agains^ the reformation, Gustavus, by 
the advice of the reformers, called a general Synod or 
Riksdag at Vesteras, which met on June 15, 1527, 
and was well attended. There were present the King, 
councillors of state, bishops and clergy, nobles, burges- 
ses, mine owners and- bondes from all quarters of 
the kingdom. The chancellor read the King's message 
to the Riksdag, setting, forth the condition of the king- 
dom and the wants of the government, and referred 
to the wealth of the church and her enormous revenue 


and the crown property in her possession which de- 
prived the government of a sufQcient income. At 
the close of the message the King asked "What remedy 
have you gentlemen to propose?" After a long silence 
Bishop Brask arose, and said "The church and the 
clergy are under an obligation to render obedience 
to the pope in spiritual things, and cannot without 
his sanction alter doctrines or renounce property 
rights of the church." The Council and nobles assent- 
ed to this reply when asked what their opinion was 
on these subjects. 

The King arose, and with great indignation ex- 
claimed: "Then we have no longer any desire to be 
your King! From you we had expected a different 
answer. No wonder the common people are always 
ready to arise in mutiny. We are blamed for famines, 
for too much sunshine or rain, or for want of it. , You 
are the ringleaders, and all want to be rulers and none 
to obey. Monks and priests and creatures of the pope 
you set over our heads. We receive nothing but blame 
for all our toil and suffering on your behalf. Who 
would be your King on such terms? Not the worst 
fiend in hell, much less a man; nor will I be your King. 
Elect anyone you please, I hereby resign the crown." 
The King full of emotion burst into tears and left the 

Confusion and consternation prevailed. No orderly 
deliberations could be held. What one proposed oth- 
ers rejected. The clergy stuck to their rights and 
privileges. So the confusion continued for two days. 
The majority were in favor of a compromise and so in- 
formed the King, but he refused to listen to the com- 
mittee sent to him. At last the common people threat- 

1521—1560. .GUSTAVUS VASA. (Continued.) 251 

ened that unless the grandees and clergy yielded they 
would as heretofore side with the King, and compel 
obedience at the point of the sword. The demands of 
the King were then acceded to. On the fourth day the 
King, surrounded by his officers and dignitaries, was 
with great ceremony escorted to the hall. 

The enactments passed by this Eiksdag are known 
as the Recess of Vesteras, and run as follows : — 

1. The King shall have power to make use of all 
the surplus revenues of the monasteries and churches 
and bishops' castles, and church estates shall be sub- 
ject to the crown. 

2. The nobility shall have restored to them all 
their property alienated by the church since 1454. 
(By this enactment the nobility were arrayed on the 
side of the Reformation.) 

3.. The word of God, and not popish inventions, 
shall be preached in all the churches of Sweden. 

- Added as an amendment to the Recess are the fol- 
lowing ordinances: — 

1. The King, and not the Pope, is the head of the 
Swedish church. 

2. All bishops and priests must, like other sub- 
jects, be answerable to the properly constituted civil 

These enactments were at once put into force. 
The bishops surrendered their castles and lands; the 
monasteries were depleted, and their inmates had to 
devote themselves to worldly employments. The roy- 
al treasury was enriched. The bishops ce'ased to be 
members of the Council of State. Their retinues, which 
sometimes exceeded that of the King, were disbanded. 
They were reduced nearer to, but not quite near- 


enough to, the state of their MASTEK. Lawrence 
Petri, one of the early reformers, was by direction of 
Gustavus elected the first Evangelical Lutheran arch- 
bishop of Upsala in 1531. 

Gustavus Vasa was crowned King of the Swedes 
at Upsala in 1528, at which ceremony were collected 
many of the great nobility, bishops and representa- 
tives of the people. The coronation was only a modest 
ceremonial, for the country had not yet recovered from 
the protracted war, and the people of many of the 
provinces were not yet content with the King's author- 
ity. The people of West Gothland rose in rebellion 
against the King's marshal at the instigation of Ture 
Jensen, who had been appointed governor of that prov- 
ince by Gustavus. The people of Smaland, under the 
leadership of Mons Brynteson Liljehook, gave the King 
a great deal of anxiety by resisting the officers appoint- 
ed to rule over this province. 

Of all the insurrectionary movements during this 
reign the revolt of the West Goths was the only one 
which was called into activity by the instigation not 
only of the clergy but of the nobility, yet the lords 
sought to push forward the bondes and common peo- 
ple, keeping themselves in the background, a sufficient 
proof that the barons were no longer so powerful as 
they had been. The energies of democracy were never 
more vigorous in Sweden than after the massacre at 
Stockholm had broken the strength of the magnates, 
and the Kiksdag of Vesteras that of the bishops. Gus- 
tavus stood in the middle of a turbulent stream of 
popular force which had burst its bounds. This flood had 
first raised him to the throne, which for twenty years 
afterwards it struggled to overturn. His accustomed 

1S21— 1560. GUSTAVUS VASA. (Continued.) , 253 

mode of action, to go with the torrent when it was 
about to overpower him, until he should gain firm foot- 
ing, was dictated to him by necessity, and it must be 
acknowledged that he well knew how to direct his 
course amid the dangers that encompassed him. 

Seventy years were required for the fruits of the 
Eiksdag of Vesteras to come to maturity in Sweden, 
and to establish the reformation among the people. 
It is not, therefore, surprising that at first opinions 
concerning it were conflicting, and that bitter things 
were often said about the King as its originator. Of 
the popular temper at this time the chronicles give 
the following description: — 

"The King might labor as much as he would that 
they might bear good will to him and his labors, yet 
it was of no avail. The reason was, that he had so 
few upright servants with understanding and will to 
order his affairs for the best, nor could he obtain such 
before the popish creed was mostly rooted out. Never 
would the Dalcarlar have been so lightly brought to 
revolt, nor the West-Gotlanders and Smalanders be- 
sides, if they had not cherished a misguided belief that 
the King wished to suppress the christian faith. With 
such charges did the old folk, and especially the priests, 
fill the ears of the common people so that whether the 
King showed himself mild or harsh it was taken 
equally ill. If he discoursed pleasantly they cried that 
he wished to tickle them with the hare's foot; if he 
spoke sharply, they then said, that for all their taxes 
and burdens they had naught else to expect from him 
but reproaches and bad words, and that he would undo 
them and the whole kingdom. With the provinces 
which remained quiet it was mostly pretence, for they 


did it out of fear, because they heard how he had 
compelled the Dalcarlar and Norlanders to obedience 
with a strong hand." 

By the end of the year 1532 Gustavus had sup- 
pressed the several insurrections within his kingdom; 
the power of the catholic hierarchy was broken; and 
of the nobility those who had not gone over to the 
side of the King had fled the country. Christian II. 
and his adherents, who in 1531 and 1532 had made a 
last attempt to conquer his Northern kingdoms, had 
been utterly routed, and he, by the same treachery 
which he so often employed in his prosperous days, 
was taken prisoner. 

It was now time for Gustavus to settle the account 
with Lubeck and the other Hansa cities. Lubeck had 
for many years secured special commercial privileges 
from the Scandinavian governments. She had also ad- 
vanced large sums of money to aid Gustavus in his 
war against Christian II. The Burgomaster of Lubeck, 
Wullenwever, an ambitious and unscrupulous man, 
sought to control the commerce of Sweden, acting 
very arrogantly. When his demands were rejected 
Lubeck and the other Hansa cities formed a coalition, 
and declared war on Sweden. Gustavus took ener- 
getic measures instantly, forming an alliance with 
Denmark for mutual protection; and in a very short 
time the fleet of Lubeck was defeated by the combined 
Swedish and Danish navies; and the war terminated. 
Thus the Hansa lost its commercial supremacy in 
Sweden, Denmark and Norway. 

Gustavus Vasa and the Hereditary Settlement.— As 
early as 1526 the Council solicited the King to choose 
a consort, that if any sons were born t« him they might 

152]— 1560. GUSTAVUS VASA. (Continued.) 255 

be his successors and the kingdom be saved from a 
civil war. The act of the Hereditary settlement to the 
throne of Sweden was passed at the Riksdag of Vest- 
eras and dated the 13th of January 1544, whereby the 
heirs of the, body of Gustavus Vasa became by right 
of inheritance, and not by election as heretofore, en- 
titled to rule over Sweden. This was the final death 
blow to the presumptuous claims of the Danish Kings 
•to the throne of Sweden and to a restoration of the 
union of the three Scandinavian kingdoms under one 

The Russian War. — Gustavus Vasa did not close 
his reign without a contest with Russia. Ivan VI. 
Vassiljewitch, the young and ambitious Czar of Rus- 
sia, sent his army into Finland, where they carried on 
an uncivilized warfare characterized by indiscriminate 
destruction of property and the murder of the defense- 
less inhabitants. The Swedish army was hurried for- 
ward to meet the invaders. The Russians, albeit far 
superior in number to the Swedes, were constantly 
driven back. The war lasted with varied success for 
nearly two years, but the arms of Sweden under her, 
able generals, Lars Siggeson Sparre, John Tureson, 
Gustaf Stenbock, Per Brahe, Svante Sture, Sten 
Lejonhufvud, and others, finally subdued the Russians 
and a peace was concluded in 1557 at Moscow which 
lasted for many years. 

Gustavus Vasa, having restored order in all his 
provinces, repelled all demands and pretensions of the 
Danish Kings, and humbled the Hanseatic league, de- 
voted himself to the internal improvement of his be- 
loved country. 


He began his career by fighting Christian II., and 
his constant struggle against inte;rnal disorders fol- 
lowed by his foreign wars soon began to form the 
nucleus of a standing army, an institution up to this 
time unknown in Sweden, Toward the end of his reign 
he maintained an army of 15,000 enlisted men, besides 
the nobility who, were obliged to serve on horseback, 
forming a sort of cavalry which was considered more 

In times past the Swedish Vikings, as well as the 
other Norsemen, had been the terror of the seas; but 
after the mild and pacific doctrines of Christianity 
had taken hold on the minds of the people, and the 
narrow and gloomy walls of the cloister, or ihe se- 
cluded hermit life among the woods and mountains 
had been shown by the priests to lead to eternal bliss, 
rather than the warlike, courageous, and daring ex- 
ploits of the old Vikings which threw open the halls 
of Valhalla and entitled them to sit down at the feast 
of the gods, the celebrated dragon ships of the Swedes 
had almost disappeared from the seas. Now the power 
of Sweden awoke to new life, and under the masterful 
mind and guiding hand of Gustavus Vasa looked out 
upon the world for new fields to conquer. The Swed- 
ish fleet was called into existence by the first of the 
Eoyal line of Vasa, and wonderful have been the ex- 
ploits of the Swedes in this method of warfare from 
that day until the day of John Ericsson's Monitor in 
American waters, and Nordenskjold's passage in the 
Vega through the Polar seas. 

Not only were the coasts of Sweden protected by 
the newly created fleet, but the Baltic Sea came under 
her domination. Fortifications were built wherever 

1521—1560. GUSTAVUS VASA. (Continued.) 257 

needed, and garrisons placed in them for tlie security 
of the realm. 

During this reign energetic steps were taken for 
the building up of a merchant marine. Treaties were 
made with the continental powers to the advantage of 
the Swedish merchants. The Swedish flag was seen 
on every sea, and was respected in the harbors of Eng- 
land, France, Italy, the Americas and the East. 

The Swedish mountains, covered with timber and 
rich in ores of copper and iron, became centers of 
great activity whence abundant wealth was extracted. 
The farming industries were encouraged by the wise 
example of the King, whose income was principally 
supplied by their produce, added to the cattle and 
sheep from his own and the crown estates. Skilled 
mechanics were encouraged to immigrate from South- 
ern Europe, and were well received and cared for. 

The universities and schools had been neglected, as 
the introduction of the reformation at first created 
great confusion; but when Evangelical Lutheranism 
had obtained a sure foothold, education was eagerly 
sought by the young, and was well provided for by: 
the government. 

There was no department of the government, nor of 
the various industries and spheres of human activity, 
where the guiding hand of this master-mind was not 
seen and felt He is therefore by right entitled to the 
name of "Father of his Country." The many monu- 
ments erected during later days at the various places 
hallowed by his presence and activity testify to the 
love for him which to-day fills the grateful hearts 
of the Swedish people. 

Gustavus, although belonging to the privileged 


classes of noble birth, and descended from a family 
among whose members are found Kings, administrat- 
ors, and councillors of state, yet did not consider birth 
alone as possessing any prerogative to royal favors, 
offices, or to land-grants. When a complaint was once 
made to him that many of the sons of bondes or com- 
mons had come, by marriage with nobility, into 
possession of privileged or tax free estates, the King 
replied: "Trial must be made of everyone's manhood 
and repute according as the law prescribes, seeing that 
tute NOBILITY." 

, Gustavus Vasa died on the 29th day of September, 
1560. In the prime of his life he was thus depicted 
by his sister's son, Peter Brahe. "His stature was that 
of a man of middle height, something more than six 
feet. He had a round head, fair hair, a comely, large, 
long beard, quick eyes, a small straight nose, a well- 
shaped mouth, ruddy lips, blooming cheeks, his body 
of a reddish brown, so goodly that not a blemish was to 
be found on him whereupon a needle's point could be 
set, strong arms, a full person, neatly shaped hands 
and feet; in a word, so well-formed and justly propor- 
tioned, as a skilful limner at his best might paint a 
man. He took pleasure in wearing stout raiment, 
proper for a man and a King, and, however his clothes 
were cut, they fitted him perfectly well.- His com- 
plexion was choleric and sanguine; he was of a cheer- 
ful, gay, and jovial turn, untroubled and free from 
scorn; and how many guests soever were found in his 
halls, he knew how to fit himself to each in converse 
and discourse as their place required. He kept an 
honorable and royal court, as well of native as foreign 

1521—1560. GUSTAVUS VASA. (Continued.) 259 

lords and gentlemen, and a decorously ordered draw- 
ing room. Daily in the afternoon an hour was appoint- 
ed, when all the nobles behooved to come to the ball- 
room. There was the mistress of the household with 
the ladies, and the King's musicians played to them. 
Every seeond or third day the King rode out with 
his. lords and ladies, either to the chase or to take the 
air, and in pleasure (then yet an innocent word) to 
pass away the time. Every week he had a fencing- 
school free to all comers, and kept the young nobles 
at practice as well in this art as in every other 
knightly exercise, wherein he himself took great con- 
tentment. And whoso in this excelled the others, was 
requited with an honorable present, whether it were 
a gold ring or a pearl garland, or to lead the dance 
with some young lady of the court.. To hear music 
the King took great pleasure, as well with men's 
voices, as with sweet and delightsome instruments; 
and he had not only good judgment to give an opinion 
thereanent, but he was himself an artist both to sing 
and to play. Among all instruments he held the lute 
most dear, and there was no evening when he was 
alone that he did not solace himself with it. Although 
he was not so deeply versed in bookish studies and the 
like, for that in early youth he was taken from them 
to court service, yet his judgment was by nature so 
sharp-sighted, upon the handiwork of artists of all 
kinds, images and paintings, portraits, landscapes, 
buildings, also of the natures of birds, beasts, trees, 
and roots, that herein he excelled those who had made 
such things their study. Set he once eyes upon a man 
fairly, then would he have assurance of knowing him 
well again, after ten or twenty years' time, and he 


could judge of his nature and character by his aspect. 
He had a supernaturally good memory; what he had 
heard once or twice he never forgot; where he had 
once passed by, he never needed again to inquire of the 
way; and he knew not only the, names of the villages, 
but also those of peasants, if he had stayed there in 
his youth. Much good luck he had in his days before 
other men, not only at cards or dice, when he sat down 
to play, which happened not often, but also in victories 
and success in his warlike enterprises, with tillage and 
breeding of cattle, finding of the treasure in the earth, 
mines, and fisheries of all sorts. His royal castles and 
manors overflowed with plenteousness. He had like- 
wise the fear of God before his eyes, serving Him with 
gladness, both at morn and even-tide; and though he 
rejoiced in the society of fair and engaging dames, yet 
was he, so chaste that he was never brought into 
scandal for any, nor was it ever said that children were 
born to him out of wedlock, but he kept himself true 
to his nuptial vow. In the sum ; God had endowed him 
above his fellows with great ability, high understand- 
ing, and many princely virtues so that he was well 
worthy to bear the kingly sceptre and the crown. For 
it was not only that he was sagacious and versatile; 
he was also manly and virtuous, in judgment sharp- 
sighted and fair, and in many matters tender of heart." 
Such was his portraiture, drawn in the bloom of life. 
With years came seriousness ; and in a form worthier of 
honor than his, age has been rarely seen. We have de- 
scribed him by his actions and the testimony of his 
contemporaries. Nothing remains to be added, unless 
to say that in our generation he would have excited 
still greater wonder by his virtues than by his failings. 


GUSTAVUS VASA. (Continued.) 


In both he belongs to another race than the present; 
but his life was an example and a landmark for many 
races and ages. 

His remains rest in one of the Chapels of TJpsala 
Cathedral where a suitable monument has been conse- 
crated to his memory by an admiring people. 



ERIC XIV. 15G0— 1568. JOHN III. 1568-1592. 

Eric XIV. Inherits tlie Crown — ^His Intended Marriage to Elizabeth of 
England — ^Proclaimed King — His good Intentions — Improvements ip 
the Judicial System of Sweden — Courts, Immigrations — Gustavus 
Vasa's Testament Annulled — Erie's Courtships — Karin — ^Erie's For- 
eign Policy — Sweden's Success in Livonia Aroused Enmity of Den- 
mark — Naval Battle of Bornholm — Vicissitudes of the War — ^Naval 
Battles — Invasion of Sweden — ^Defeat of the Danes — firie's Dispute 
with His Brothers — Joh^ made Prisoner — The Stures and other 
Nobles Imprisoned and Murdered — Conspiracy against the King — 
Civil War — Defeat of Eric — Abdicates — Imprisoned — His Death — ■ 
Persson condemned. John III. (1568 — 1592.) John is Acknowl- 
edged King — Empty Treasury — John Inclines to the Bomish 
Church — ^The Liturgy — Charles' Power and Influence — ^War with 
Denmark — Truce — ^Answer of the Riksdag to Denmark's Demand — 
War Renewed — Peace — The Cause of War between Sweden and Rus- 
sia—Czar's Ambassadors — Reval — Success of De la Gardie — ^The 
Swedish Generals Restrain the Soldiers — Peace with Russia — Arch- 
bishop Gothus — ^Death of John. 

Eric XIV.— On the death of Gustavus Vasa, Eric 
his eldest son, in accordance with the hereditary set- 
tlement, ascended the throne in 1560. Eric inherited 
from his father, peace with his neighbors, plenty 
throughout the land, a well-filled treasury, and tlie 
good will of the people, which usually falls to the lot 
of young princes. He was a handsome young man, 
had been carefully educated, and was well versed in 
the business of war. In statescraft he was considered 
jn'oficient, and he made a favorable impression on the 
foreign ambassadors accredited to his court. 

1560—1568. EEIC XIV. 263 

While Gustavus, his father, was lying on his death 
bed, Eric made great preparations to sail for the Brit- 
ish Isles where he intended to propose marriage to 
Queen Elizabeth of England. He had collected a con- 
siderable fleet at Elfsberg, and immense treasures had 
been taken on board in readiness for his departure, 
when the news of his father's death reached him. He 
at once abandoned his proposed journey and returned 
to Stockholm, where he caused himself to be pro- 
claimed King, on November 30th, 1560. 

During the first years of his reign the better side of 
his nature prevailed; and no one who saw him laying 
the foundations for many useful institutions, or com- 
mencing various internal improvements throughout 
the country, could foresee that this young man would 
become a prey to such insane folly and barbaric cruel- 
ty, as history must confess that this highly gifted 
Prince did. The final ending of his life was very un- 

Several appellate courts were organized. A Su- 
preme Court was established, called the King's High- 
est Court of Judicature. The system of procedure in 
tbp inferior courts was remodelled to secure the 
speedy administration of justice. Eric made his king- 
dom a refuge for the persecuted protestants, who were 
compelled to flee from Germany, France and other Eu- 
ropean countries under the control of the Inquisition. 
•This was a politic policy, for many desirable immi- 
grants found a home in Sweden, and became a very 
welcome addition to the population of the country. 

Gustavus Vasa had by his last will and testament 
assigned to each of Eric's brothers, John, Magnus, and 
Charles, separate dukedoms, making them independent 


of Eric as King. Eric summoned the Estates to a Riks- 
dag at Arboga, in 1561, at which an enactment 
called the Arboga Articles was passed, annulling 
the testament of his father, and reducing the Princes 
to the i>osition of subjects, their only stipends being 
the privilege of collecting the revenues derived from 
their dukedoms, and of appointing inferior officers. 
Eric was thereupon crowned King at the Cathedral of 
Upsala, on -^hich occasion large amounts of the treas- 
ure gathered by his father were spent on extravagant 
festivals, shows, and amusements. Several of the 
grandees were on this occasion giyen titles of Dukes, 
Counts, Barons, etc., which laid the foundation for the 
Riddarhus (House of Lords.) 

Eric continued to pay his court to Queen Elizabeth 
of England through the medium of several special em- 
bassies by whom he sent large numbers of rich offer- 
ings, jewelry, furs, and other valuable gifts, all of 
which Elizabeth kept like a sagacious coquette, but 
she declined his advances when his presents ceased to 
flow in upon her. His suit having been declined, he 
paid court to Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. But the 
times were not favorable for. such an alliance He 
also sent secret missions to other courts of Europe. It 
appears, however, that it was his own changeable dis- 
position, rather than rejection on their part, which 
prevented his marriage to any of these Princesses. 
Eric finally married a young and beautiful Swedish 
girl of the common people, Karin, the daughter of a 
a corporal, whom he succeeded in persuading the Coun- 
cil of State to crown as Queen of Sweden; although 
her children were afterward excluded from the suc- 
cession to the throne. 

1560—1568. EEIC XIV. 265 

Esthonia Becomes a Swedish Province. — Gustavus 
Vasa had, as far as possible during his reign, avoided 
being mixed up in the incessant disputes between 
foreign powers, and, as far as he could, aided in mak- 
ing peace secure among the Northern powers of Eu- 
rope. Eric XIV. pursued a different course. Ambi- 
tious, desirous of conquest, he utilized every oppor- 
tunity and means in order to extend the borders of 
his kingdom. Esthonia, Livonia, and Courland were 
goverijed by the Teutonic Knights. This order was at 
the time in a state of decay. The surrounding govern- 
ments Russia, Sweden, and Denmark,- each exerted 
themselves to annex these territories. Eric sent an 
army to Eeval, which as a stronghold of protestantism 
had asked the assistance of Sweden, when Russia and 
Poland had sent their armies to attack and reduce her 
to subjection. 

Reval and Esthonia became Swedish, and here be- 
gan the bitter conflict between these rival powers, 
which for years ravaged the countries, causing the 
loss of many lives and the wasting of immense treas- 

The Northern Seven Years' War. — The success of 
the arms of Sweden in Livonia, which in 1563 had be- 
come a Swedish province, created jealousy on the part 
of Frederik II., King of Denmark, who feared that the 
conquests of Sweden would become detrimental to the 
interests of Denmark. The two governments had each 
adopted three crowns on the shields of their coats of 
arms, which was taken to be a claim on the part of 
both Kings that they were entitled to the crowns of 
the three Scandinavian kingdoms. Eric XIV. began 
the conflict by restricting the commerce of Denmark 


with the Kussian ports. King Frederik II. arrested 
one of the ambassadors of Sweden. The Swedish navy 
under the command of Jacob Bagge fought a decisive 
battle with the Danish fleet near the Island of Born- 
holm. Several of the Danish vessels were sunk, and 
the remainder fled. 

Denmark formed an alliance with Poland and Lu- 
beck. Sweden was now surrounded by enemies. Den- ■ 
mark invaded the Western coasts of Sweden. The 
Swedish government increased the army by means of 
new levies. The war continued with fluctuating results. 
Fortiflcations were taken and retaken, invasions were 
repelled, and counter invasions followed in succession. 
In 1564 the combined navies of Denmark and Lu- 
beck met the Swedish Admiral Trolle, with a fleet in- 
ferior in number, in the Baltic, and now began one 
of those memorable naval battles which form epochs 
in the his.tory of maritime warfare. For two days they 
attacked each other with the most heroic and daring 
determination. At last the flagship of the Swedish 
Admiral caught fire, the powder magazine exploded, 
and the big man-of-war went to the bottom of the 
sea. The Admiral was rescued from the water with 
some of his sailors, and they were all made prisoners, 
but the larger portion of the sailors perished. In 1565 
the Swedish fleet, under Admiral Horn, fought a naval 
battle with the combined fleets of Denmark and Lu- 
beck. He was victorious and drove the enemy from 
the sea, after having taken the Danish Admiral pris- 
oner. He now threatened Copenhagen and Lubeck, 
but the approaching winter put an end to the con- 

The Danish General Eantzau destroyed several 

15G0— 15CS. ERIC XIV. 267 

smaller Swedish fortifications, but was at last sur- 
rounded by the Swedish army. He succeeded in effect- 
ing his retreat, and escaped although pursued by the 
Swedish army, which attacked him constantly. When 
he reached his vessels he had only a few stragglers 
left. The main portion of his army had perished or 
been taken prisoners. 

King Eric's Insanity. — With 1567 arrived King 
Eric's most unhappy year.. He had always exhibited 
a peculiar and violent temper. After his accession 
to the throne he acted very arbitrarily towards his 
brothers John and Charles. John sought in marriage 
the Princess Catherine Jagellonia, sister of King Sig- 
ismund II. of Poland. Eric prohibited John from 
seeking this alliance, but the King of Poland encour- 
aged it, and took the Duke under his protection. The 
marriage was consummated, Eric became exasperat- 
ed and cited John before the Council at Stockholm, 
to answer for his disobedience. John with his Princess 
resided at the castle of Abo, Finland, whither Eric 
sent an army, which surprised John and carried him 
and his wife Catherine as prisoners to Stockholm, 
where he was put in the tower, and there lingered for 
four years. John was then pardoned and released. 

Eric's mental malady increased from year to year. 
He was surrounded by persons of low birth, who con- 
stantly prejudiced his mind against his counsellors, 
the Council, and the great families of Sweden. His 
greatest favorite was Goran Persson, a corrupt, avari- 
cious and immoral man. This evil genius accused the 
members of the great patriotic family of the Stures, 
and several others of the nobility, of a conspiracy to 
deprive Eric of the throne. The Stures, Sten Lejon- 


hufvud, and others were arrested and imprisoned, and 
brought before the Council, King Eric, either from 
fear or insanity, acted like a wild beast; he rushed 
into the prison upon the helpless Nils Sture, a man 
who had shown himself to be the King's most faithful 
supporter, and with drawn dagger stabbed the un- 
fortunate nobleman to death. The other prisoners 
were murdered by his soldiers. 

Having accomplished this bloody deed, King Eric 
rushed out of the prison and for days wandered alone 
in the woods, his bodyguard keeping at a distance for 
fear of his wild and savage disposition, 

Goran Persson who had encouraged the King to this 
bloody tragedy by fraud, falsehood and deceit, secured 
from the Riksdag, a resolution to the effect that the 
victims were traitors, and deserving of death and 
should be executed, whereupon the Riksdag adjourned. 
But the victims had been murdered several days be- 

The Dukes, John and Charles, as well as the men of 
station and consequence began to fear for their lives. 
No one was secure in person or property since without 
legal proofs, but on suspicion alone, anyone could be 
found guilty of treason, or of a capital crime. 

Under the guidance of the Dukes John and Charles, 
assisted by Sten Lejonhufvud, who miraculously 
escaped from the prison, and Pontus De la Gardie, a 
French nobleman whose family became prominent iu 
the annals of Sweden, a conspiracy was formed 
against the King who had now lost the affection and 
respect of the nation. 

The Southern provinces of Sweden declared for the 
Dukes, rose in arms against the King, and a civil war 

1568—1592. JOHN III. 269 

broke out. Eric at the head of his army, met the in- 
surgents, and at first had the upper han^. Then the 
Northern provinces also declared for the Dukes, aud 
the King was forced back to Stockholm, where he was 
besieged. Seeing that his efforts were fruitless, the 
King negotiated for terms of surrender and his abdica- 
tion of the crown. Eric was after his abdication kept a 
prisoner first at the castle of Stockholm, and then re- 
moved to Abo and later to Gripsholm, where he was 
subjected to harsh and cruel treatment. He was fin- 
ally put to death by poison in 1577. At first he had 
been permitted to see his wife and children, but this 
consolation was denied him during the last years of 
his life. 

The Estates assembled in Riksdag decreed the 
crown to Duke John, and denied the claims of Duke 
Charles, although he had been the actual soul of the 
conspiracy. The latter was 18 years of age.- Eric's 
favorite, Goran Persson, who had been the main cause 
of so much shedding of innocent blood, was condemned 
to an ignominious death, executed, and buried in the 
hangman's field. 

Eric's wife Karin survived him many years. The 
state provided her with a fair annuity. One son and a 
daughter survived him, but they were deemed to have 
forfeited all right to the throne. Gustavus, his son, 
spent all the rest of his life in Southern Europe, and 
died in Russia in needy circumstances. 

John III. — In October 1568, when John arrived in 
Stockholm, he was received by the Council as King. 
Duke Charles, who had so ably aided in the overthrow 
of Eric, expected to have a joint share in the govern- 


ment, but this was refused by the Estates, who met in 
Riksdag during January, 1569. 

Eric had come to the government at the death of 
his father Gustavus Vasa to find a full treasury, peace 
and plenty everywhere — a happy and contented coun- 
try. Confusion and discontent, and an empty treasury 
fell to the lot of John when he assumed the responsi- 
bilities of sovereign power. John was not the man 
for so hazardous a position, being vacillating and un- 
decided in character. The country had adopted the 
reformation, although some of the clergy still favored 
the Eoman Church. John at once rewarded many of 
the nobility who had helped him to the throne, and 
immense privileges were granted to them. John's 
Queen, Catherine of Poland,- was a catholic and partly 
to please her, and partly from his own natural inclina- 
tion, he favored a return of the Swedish church to 
Catholicism, which action on his part caused consider- 
able strife and dispute among the clergy and the peo- 
ple. John's attempt to introduce the Liturgy, (called 
the Eed Book), into the public worship, made him 
many bitter enemies among his people. Duke Charles, 
though he was forced at the coronation of John to re- 
nounce all claims to a personal share in the govern- 
ment in favor of King John and his male descendants, 
was, in fact, by his position as governor in his Duchy, 
the power behind the throne., Even his disputes with 
the King made him the more powerful. The historian 
who follows the course of events during the years of 
John's reign, finds this influence continually increas- 
ing, and is led to wonder that John could keep his 
place upon the throne, with such a power as Charles by 
its side. 

1568—1592. JOHN III. 271 

The war between Sweden and Denmark still per- 
sisted. On their revolt against Eric, the Dukes had 
opened negotiations with Denmark, The Swedish en- 
voys, Gyllenstjerna and Bjelke, had first concluded a 
truce, and afterwards agreed to conditions of peace, 
by which they consented that Sweden should renounce 
all old claims on Danish and Norwegian provinces, 
should surrender all vessels captured, and refund the 
expenses of the war. 

When King John at the Kiksdag of. 1569 placed 
this treaty of peace before the Estates and asked 
whether they would concede the demands of the King 
of Denmark, moved to indignation, they answered: 
"No! But they would give him first, powder, balls 
and pikes, and then fire and brimstone." 

The war was kindled anew, and after many bloody 
encounters between the Swedes and Danes on land 
and sea, at the intercession of the Emperor and the 
King of France, and the Elector of Saxony, peace was 
concluded between the belligerents in 1570. 

The cause which led to the war of Eussia with 
Sweden may to the present generation seem improb- 
able, but other nations than the Greeks and Trojans 
have been precipitated into bloody wars on account 
of the fair sex. Ivan, the Czar of the Muscovites, had 
sought the hand of the Polish Princess Catherine 
Jagellonia; but Duke John of Sweden was the suc- 
cessful suitor. When .John was made a prisoner and 
put in the tower by his brother King Eric, Goran Pers- 
son, as the paid hireling of Ivan offered Catherine a 
palace and a royal retinue if she would separate from 
John, her husband; his plan was to send her secretly 
to the Czar of Russia. Instead of answering, she 


pointed to her wedding ring with its Latin inscrip- 
tion "Naught but death," and followed her husband 
into his appointed prison. 

The Czar did not abandon all hope of enticing 
Catherine away from John, but continued his 
efforts up to the time when John became 
King of Sweden. Ivan had sent commission- 
ers to Eric, King of Sweden, to bring Cather- 
ine from Stockholm to Russiai On the acces- 
sion of King John the Russian envoys were present 
in Stockholm. The popular fury against them rose to 
such a pitch that they were nearly torn in pieces, but 
at last they were saved by the personal bravery and 
interference of Duke Charles, who brought them to 
a place of safety. 

The war of Russia with Sweden was in full flame 
in the year 1572. The barbaric hordes of Russia over- 
ran Finland and Livonia as far as the city of Reval 
which was besieged. The Swedes indeed succeeded 
in maintaining their principal garrison at Reval as 
well against attempts of treachery, as against open 
assaults, and more than once the town bade defiance 
to the whole Russian power; While the rest of the sur- 
rounding country was subjected to the most appalling 
cruelties of the Russians under the eyes of the in- 
human Ivan, The Terrible. Mutiny among the Scots 
and Germans in the Swedish service facilitated the 
success of the savage foe, until a fresh outbreak of 
war between the Russians and Poles and the 
Crim Tartars, together with the military success of 
Pontus de la Gardie, changed the whole face of af- 
fairs. This officer, a French nobleman, who 
Tjvas first in Brig'§ service and afterward^ 

1568—1592. JOHN III. 273 

contributed to his overthrow, was often em- 
ployed by John in war and negotiations. He 
was raised to the rank of free baron, married to 
the King's natural daughter, Sophia Gyllenhjelm, and 
in 1580 named for the second time general against the 
Russians. Supported by Henry Classon Horn and his 
son Charles, who earlier in the Livonian war had 
gained themselves honorable names, he not only gained 
back all that Sweden had lost in Livonia, but soon 
carried his victorious arms across the Russian front- 
iers. Narva was taken by storm; Ingerriianland 
with its fortresses and Kexholm with its government 
were reduced. Honor be to King John that he ordered 
his generals not to retaliate on the unfortunate Rus- 
sians with cruelties similar to those perpetrated by 
them. Russow the priest of Reval writes about his 
unhappy country "Of all the potentates who have oc- 
cupied Livonia, there is none who has done more for 
it, than the King of Sweden. Had other Kings and 
Princes troubled themselves alike therewith, the 
Muscovites might well have wondered." Even while 
they were barbarians and under a Czar who was a 
monster, the Russians began to display the qualities 
which established their power. They were persevering, 
self-denying, ready to submit to privations, and would 
often fight to the last man rather than surrender to 
the enemy, even if they were unable to escape by 
flight. Peace between Russia andSwedenwas not con- 
cluded until after the death of Ivan in 1584. 

The reformation of the Swedish church was not 
yet fully established, and she was to suffer a great 
loss in the death of her first Lutheran archbishop, who 
died, advanced in years, in October, 1573. He had 


for many years been the main support of Evangelical 
Christianity, and the spreading of the Gospel among 
the Swedish people. King John caused a new prelate 
to be selected, Lawrence Gothus — who was a man of 
wavering mind and destitute of convictions.. During 
the last years of the reign of John, misunderstandings 
separated him and Duke Charles from each other. The 
quarrel that set the brothers at variance was in truth 
the same which now tore the world asunder. In 
Charles men saw the upholder of reformation and thp 
work of Gustavus Vasa, and it was in after years, dur- 
ing the reign of Charles IX. and Gustavus Adolphus, 
that the Swedish throne was destined to be the stay 
of Protestantism in Europe. 

Sigismund, the only son of King John by Ms Polish 
wife, had been elected King of Poland in 1587. King 
John died in the castle of Stockholm, on the 17th of 
November, 1592, in his fifty-fifth year. 


SIGISMUND I. 1592—1599. CHARLES IX. 1599—1611. 

Sigismund King of Poland Succeeds to the Throne of Sweden— Duke 
Charles Conducts the Government — By John's Vacillation and Si- 
gismund's devotion to Popery the Crown is Jeopardized — Vasa 
Throne Established on the Reformation — Upsala Synod or Riksdag 
— Lutheran Doctrines of the Swedish Church — Approved by Charles 
— Sigismund Arrives at Stockholm — Grudgingly Confirms the Acts 
of the Riksdag — Is Crowned King — Conflicts between the Swedes 
and the Poles — Sigismund leaves for Poland — Sweden wants a Resi- 
dent King — Charles Summons a Riksdag — Is Elected Administrator- 
Charles, the Council and Sigismund — Sigismund with a Polish Army 
Invades Sweden — Is Defeated by the Swedes — A Riksdag Meets and 
Sigismund Is Deposed — Charles IX. Elected Kirg — Was the People's 
King — Mental Peculiarities of the Vasas — Superstitions — Dreams and 
Omens — Convulsions of the Social Fabric — Riksdag at Jonkoping — 
Trial and Execution of the Nobles Who Sided with Sigismund — 
The Crown Offered to Charles — Declined until Duke John Became 
of Age — ^Legal Maxims — War with Sigismund and Poland — Riksdag 
of 1602 — Terms of Peace — The Council — Peaoe with Russia — Entry 
Into Moscow — Stjernskold — Anarchy in Russia — De la Gardie's Vic- 
tories — Prince Charles Philip Elected Czar of Russia — ^War with 
Denmark- — Gustavus Adolphus' First Experience in Military Science 
— Death of Charles IX. — Influence of Charles IX. on the People — 
Rapid Development of Sweden Socially, Morally and Materially^ 
Schools — Education — ^History and Literature. 

On the death of John Til. his son Sigismund, King 
of Poland, became, by right of succession. King of 
Sweden. There was some delay before he came over 
from Poland to assume his new responsibilities, and in 
the meantime Duke Charles at once undertook the di- 
rection of affairs, until the wishes of the King could 
be made known. 


1592—1599. SIGISMUND I. 277 

The reign of Sigismuud shows us but the final out- 
break of those troubles for which the preceding 
reign must be held accountable. John had been un- 
true to all those principles by which the house of Vasa 
had earned such devoted support. This error his son 
was to atone for by the loss of his crown, which Charles 
in struggling with the perils that menaced his coun- 
try, was to win, and thereby to attain to supreme 
power. Gustavus had founded his edifice on the refor- 
mation. If John had already undermined this foun- 
dation by his vacillation between the Lutheran doc- 
trine and Catholicism, what might not be feared from 
a King who was so devoted to the Jesuits, that his 
father had warned him to beware of them? In Kome 
too, not a little was expected from his zeal, and the 
Pope expressed a hope that Sigismuud would subdue 
the heretics in Poland and in Sweden. 

Charles had in fact conducted the government of 
Sweden for the last two years, so it was natural that 
it should remain vested in him for the present As 
John had expired without making any political testa- 
ment Charles proclaimed a general amnesty, and set at 
liberty all who had been imprisoned for liturgical or 
political reasons. The clergy assembled at Stockholm 
pressed for the fulfillment by the Duke of the promise 
given by John in 1590, that a Synod should be held for 
the adjustment of religious disputes. Thie Duke con- 
sented and called a general Eiksdag. Eeligion and 
freedom, as he said to the Council of State, had been his 
father's gifts to the country. Out of thankfulness 
for.these, the Estates had made the crown hereditary 
in the house of Gustavus Vasa, but only he would be 
a true hereditary King of the realm of Sweden who 


should preserve them to the Kingdom. Sigismund, 
now come to the crown, was subject by conviction to 
the authority and will of the Pope; it would therefore 
be necessary for the protection of religion and liberty 
that the Estates and the Clergy should meet in Riksdag 
and establish their own status for the future 

The Estates met and the Riksdag sitting as a Sy- 
nod was convened at Upsala on February 25, 1593. The 
University of Upsala had been steadfast to the refor- 
mation, and it was decreed that the University should 
be encouraged and largely endowed. After several 
days' discussion it was enacted: 

That the Holy Writ explained by itself is the sole 
basis and the rule of evangelical doctrines for chris- 
tian faith and practice. 

That the three symbols: The Apostolic Creed, the 
Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed and the or- 
iginal Augsburg confession contain a short and con- 
cise statement of the Christian belief. 

The Synod then voted that all the participants 
should to a man defend these enactments so long as 
their lives and property lasted. 

The Synod of Upsala is always considered, and in 
fact is, the most important of the religious conven- 
tions held in Sweden, for by its enactments symboli- 
cal importance was given to the Lutheran confession, 
and Sweden became henceforth distinctively an Evan- 
gelical Lutheran country. So at the close of the Sy- 
nod the presiding officer exclaimed: "Now has Sweden 
become one man, and we have all one Lord and one 
God." On March 20th, 1593, Duke Charles gave his 
sanction to the enactments of the Synod, and the refor- 
mation was once for all established in the land. The 

1592—1599. . SIGISMUND I. 279 


action of the Synod of Upsala, wHose memory the 
Swedish Church celebrates every century, was a great 
and decisive step. It consolidated the reformation in 
Sweden, and consequently in Europe. Relations which 
in the impending strife carried great weight had al- 
ready been entered upon. Henry of Navarre had 
written to Charles concerning a "General Protestant 
League." Closer alliance for mutual protection was 
sought by the Protestants of Germany, the Nether- 
lands and England. 

These proceedings, which were of such importance 
for the future of Sweden,- took place before Sigismund's 
arrival there. In September, 1593, he arrived at Stock- 
holm with a large retinue of Polish grandees, soldiers 
and sailors, and was well received by the Duke and 
the Council of State. He was requested to sanction 
the enactments of the Synod of Upsala, which as an 
ardent Catholic he declined to do, until it became man- 
ifest to him that he would forfeit the Swedish crown 
unless he acceded to the demands of the Swedes. He 
then grudgingly sanctioned the acts of the Riksdag or 
Synod at Upsala. The same day on which this was 
done, February 19, 1594, Sigismund was crowned King 
of Sweden. As he was now King over two kingdoms, 
whose people differed in religion, in civil polity, cus- 
toms and laws, apprehension was felt by many 
thoughtful persons lest this might turn out to be in 
the future a second unfortunate Calmar Union. Dur- 
ing Sigismund's stay in Sweden the relations between 
his Polish retinue and the Swedes were not always 
pleasant — ^the Polish Priests and the Swedish Lutheran 
Clergy anathematizing each other, and the Swedish ci- 
vilians and the Polish soldiers coming to blows. 


Without making provision for the conduct of the 
Swedish government, but intending to govern Sweden 
from Poland, Sigismund, departed for the latter coun- 
try where great disorders prevailed. But as, up to 
the present time, the majesty of the Swedish realm 
had by God's help been maintained inviolate and 
preserved from foreign corruption, so that both coun- 
try and people enjoyed the blessings of independence, 
so, now, by God's providence, men were found who 
would not allow the King's designs to be carried into 

Duke Charles and the Estates of Sweden would not 
consent to being governed from afar. We know the 
nature of the government which Sweden had under the 
former union. Magnates temporarily appointed gov- 
erned despotically, in the name of an absent King, 
while a turbulent crowd was ready to follow the stan- 
dard of any patriot who made an effort to sever the re- 
lations between the kingdoms of Sweden and Den- 
mark. Whether the present union between Poland 
and Sweden would not be a repetition of former times 
was a question for serious consideration. 

Soon after Sigismund's departure from Stockholm, 
dissensions arose between the Duke as regent and the 
Council, the latter attempting to exclude the Duke 
from a share in the government. Charles summoned 
the Estates to a Riksdag in 1595, at which he was elect- 
ed administrator with power to rule the kingdom in 
the absence of the King. Oaths of allegiance were 
taken to him. After the adjournment of the Riksdag 
new disputes arose betwen the Duke and the Council. 
Sigismund sided with the Council and against the 

1592—1599. SIGISMUND I. 281 

Duke. A new Eiksdag was called, Which continued 
to support the Duke. 

It now came to open hostilities between King Sigis- 
mund and Charles. The Swedish fleet and a division 
of the army were stationed in Finland to protect the 
interests of the King. The other trans-Baltic provin- 
ces of Sweden were in danger of being lost. In July, 
1598, Sigismund prepared for a second visit to Sweden, 
but not with the olive leaf and the wand of peace. He 
embarked with an army of ,5,000 Polish troops, and a 
brilliant court, and landed July 30, 1598, at Calmar. 
The Council of State declared for the King, and sent 
troops to his assistance. A civil war was kindled 
afresh in the country. The two hostile armies met in 
several battles with varying results. On the 25th of 
December, 1598, the army of the King met that of 
Duke Charles at Stangebro, and a bloody battle was 
fought in which the King's Polish army was routed, 
over two thousand being left on the field. The Duke 
offered terms to the King. Several of the councillors 
and the nobles who had advised the King to invade 
Sweden with Polish troops were made to suffer for 
their acts of treason. 

The Estates were again summoned to a general 
Kiksdag, to determine whether King Sigismund or 
Charles was to be the ruler over Sweden in the future. 
The Estates assembled in general Eiksdag at Jonkop- 
ing, adjourning later to Stockholm where they met 
July 24, 1599. They renounced their fealty to Sigis- 
mund, and Duke Charles was declared reigning Prince 
hereditary of the realm. This was the end of Sigis- 
mund's power within his paternal dominion. He left 
for Poland never to return. The long wars 


occasioned by the pretensions of tliis branch of 
the Vasa family, which had been deposed for the salie 
of its religion, led the Swedish nation into the path of 
conquest, rich in honor, and raised it from insignifi- 
cance to the position of dictator and arbiter in Eu- 

Charles IX. of Sweden was the youngest son of 
Gustavus Vasa; he was born October 4, 1550, 
and was therefore forty-nine years old when he 
became King in 1599. He was the only one 
who had inherited his father's splendid char- 
acter and extraordinary abilities. Prior to as- 
cending the throne he had gained much experience 
in political affairs, by taking part, and in fact be- 
ing the moving spirit, in the revolution which depriv- 
ed Eric XIV. of the throne, and made John III. 
King. Charles had governed his duchy for thirty 
years, and at intervals he acted as administrator of 
the Kingdom. He had always been closely allied 
with the bondes or common people against the aris- 
tocracy. Before becoming King he had many con- 
flicts with the councillors and the grandees of the 
realm. He has been called the "Bonde-king." 

It is impossible to avoid reaching the conclusion 
that a strain of insanity ran through the Vasa family, 
though it was manifested in extraordinary deeds of 
valour, political sagacjty, shrewdness in forming com- 
binations among nations and foresight into future 
events. Eric XIV., in an hour of wild mania, steeped 
his hands in the blood of his best friends. John III., in 
his religious fanaticism, and spurred on by Koman 
Catholic priests, antagonized his subjects to the dan- 
ger of the crown. Duke Magnus the Third, son of Gus- 

1590—1611. CHAELES IX. 283 

tavus Vasa, of whom very little is known to history, 
ended his days in an insane asylum. The later mem- 
bers of the Vasa line, as their characters are analyzed, 
show the same extraordinary peculiarities. 

The century now under consideration was a turbu- 
lent one. It was the awaking from the long and dreary 
darkness of Eoman Catholicism. The mist and gloom 
began to lift from men's minds before the light' 6f free 
thought and discussion, which were facilitated by the 
printing press. Men's minds were not yet emancipated 
from superstition, for the human race is naturally in- 
clined to believe in the supernatural. The Swedish 
historian Geijer relates that Charles IX., just before 
the Kiksdag of Soderkoping in the year 1595, had the 
following dream. It seemed to the Duke that he sat at 
table in Reval, and that a Livonian nobleman, Fitting- 
hoff the elder, had placed before him various dishes. 
When the plates were uncovered he seemed to see in 
one of the dishes the Swedish arms, and in another a 
dead man's skull with many bones around it. From 
this strange dream the Duke forthwith awakened, 
greatly alarmed; and when his chamberlain, Lubert 
Kaur, shortly afterwards entered, the Duke told him 
of the strange dream he had just had, in order that he, 
as a learned and experienced man, might interpret it. 

The interpretation of the dream was in accordance 
with the spirit of the times, and corresponded to the 
mournful events which thereafter ensued. 

Many omens and wonders appeared to the people 
about this time presaging dreadful events that were 
to happen. A rain of blood is said to have fallen in 
Stockholm before Charles went to Finland. The in- 
habitants around Linkoping before the battle of 


Stangebro saw armies marshaled in the air, rushing 
upon each other in deadly conflict, and completely an- 
nihilating each other. Fleets appeared in the air en- 
gaged in battle with one another. It is not asserted' 
that these manifestations actually occurred. These 
omens may have been ordinary mirages, or peculiar 
formation of the clouds. But whatever explanation 
may be given of them it is certain that anxiety and un- 
rest filled men's minds and that danger, misfortune 
and calamities were looked for at an early date. 

Since Sweden was settled, and as far back as his- 
tory goes, the community had scarcely ever been so 
shaken to its deepest foundations, as in the convul- 
sions which overthrei^ the last fragments of Catholi- 
cism, and wrested the crown from Sigismund. By the 
connivance of several of the members of the Council, 
the clergy who favored the Catholic church endeavored 
to suppress the work of the reformation, and to restore 
the older faith and thereby bring the status of the 
country back to the times of Christian the tyrant. In 
the year 1600 the Estates were summoned by Charles 
to a Riksdag at Jonkoping, which met March 3, 1600. 
His object was to try the arraigned lords of the Coun- 
cil who had already been imprisoned for over a year. 
The Court consisted of 153 judges, selected from the 
nobility, officers of the army and navy, burghers and 
commons. The indictments charged the accused with 
having plotted against the Duke's honor and life and 
at last brought foreign armies against their country. 
Several of the accused fell on their knees confessing 
their guilt, and were pardoned. Eric Sparre, Turre 
Bjelke, Gustave and Sten Bauer maintained their inno- 
cence and defended themselves, but were proven guilty 

1509—1611. CHARLES IX. 285 

and condemned; they were shortly afterwards executed. 
These severe measures of Charles against men of the 
highest rank, wealth and prominence, some of them re- 
lated to the royal family, made an impression on the 
community unfavorable to the Duke, while they struck 
terror and dismay into the ranks of his enemies. Many 
expressed disapproval of his severity, and asked "Are 
we going to be subjected to another Christian the ty- 

From a careful study of the condition of the times, 
and the documentary evidence bearing on the conduct 
of the members of the Council, and men in other high 
positions of State and Church, it is evident that there 
existed a violent disease which could not be cured ex- 
cept by the most heroic remedies. 

The Estates at the Riksdag offered the crown to 
Charles. His conscientious scruples caused him to de- 
cline so long as Duke John, the second son of King 
John III., had not attained his majority and in his 
own right resigned the crown. 

The object of Charles' struggles against the 
grandees had for years been to uphold the succession 
of the crown, and to prevent the same from becoming 
elective, a plaything in the hands of the nobles. 
Charles, who had for a long time been the ruler, pos- 
sessed full governing power after Si'gismund's flight. 
Could a government only have been founded on what 
may be termed a fictitious base none had ever been 
better prepared. But history shows that settled 
legal maxims are of more importance to a nation for 
its stable government and prosperity, than to 
individuals. Eare are the examples in which an 
encroachment on these legal maxims has not left 


enduring effects upon a nation which has permitted 
them with impunity. Charles adhered strictly to the 
principle ascribed to Elizabeth of England; — "Whoso 
lays hands on a Prince's sceptre grasps a firebrand 
which must destroy him; for him there is ho grace." 

Sweden became involved in war with Poland, 
whose forces, under Sigismund's direction, invaded 
Swedish Livonia. Charles made strenuous efforts to 
conclude a peace, but Sigismund, having forfeited the 
Swedish crown, exerted himself to despoil her 
provinces. Charles returned after having passed 
through the trans-Baltic provinces to familiarize 
himself with the condition of the common people whom 
he cherished with the consideration of a father. He con- 
voked a Riksdag at Stockholm in the summer of 1602, 
and laid before the Estates for their consideration the 
following view of foreign affairs. "The Swedes have 
three neighbors — ^the Danes, the Poles and the 
Eussians. With the Danes they may live in peace if 
the former be permitted to assume the three crowns, 
are given free trade and nothing is said of their past 
misbehavior. With the Poles, they may be at peace 
by yielding to the demand for the restoration of certain 
jilaces in Livonia. Russia's good will may be obtained 
by. surrendering Narva and Reval, but when she has 
secured these, her avarice will call for more." Neither 
Charles, who had always favored conquest, nor the 
high spirited and warlike Estates, would accept 
friendship and peace except on the most honorable 

: At this Riksdag the Council (the members of which 
were the King's advisers) was reorganized. Twelve 
lords, of whom the five oldest filled the highest office^ 

1599—1611. CHARLES IX. 287 

of the State, i. e., Steward, Marshal, Admiral, 
Chancellor and Treasurer, remained in residence at the 

The war between Poland and Sweden continued 
during 1604 and 1605. Charles collected a consider- 
able army and sailed for Livonia. Several battles 
were fought — the fortunes of war being against the 
Swedes — and Charles came at one time near being 
taken prisoner, his horse having been killed under 
him. Poland did not derive any advantage from 
these battles on account of the internal troubles be- 
tween the many divisions of the country. 

Wars with Kussia and Denmark. — It seemed impos- 
sible to establish peace with Poland, so Charles IX. de- 
termined to form an alliance with Eussia, which was 
also at war with Poland. Charles made a treaty with 
Vasieliewitz Schuisky, Czar of Eussia, by which he 
bound himself to cede to Sweden Kexholm with its dis- 
trict. A Swedish army was placed under command of 
Jacob De la Gardie, a young but promising general. 
' At the head of little more than 4,000 men De la Gardie 
and Evert Horn advanced to Moscow, defeated the 
Poles and delivered the Czar who was beleaguered in 
his own capital. The Swedish generals at the head of 
the victorious army made a triumphal entry into Mos- 
cow. The war was prosecuted by the Swedes with re- 
newed vigor for several years, both parties obstinately 
refusing to yield. The Swedes were often unsuccess- 
ful but they distinguished themselves by individual 
acts of the highest knightly valour which foreshadow- 
ed the brilliant days of Swedish military glory. In 
1609 the commander Nicholas Stjernskold was long be- 
sieged in Dunamunde by the Poles, The Polish Gen- 


eral Chodkewitch called upon Stjemskold to surrender, 
threatening, if he refused, that revenge would be taken 
upon his wife and children. Stjernskold made answer: 
"God is my witness that I would willingly offer my 
life for theirs, but they belong to me and the fortress 
belongs to my King." Would that it could be related 
that the same heroic spirit had possessed certain Swed- 
ish officers 200 years later. Then the Baltic would very 
likely today have been a Swedish Mediterranean. 

Eussia became a prey to contending factions, and 
several of her elected rulers were assassinated. Sig- 
ismund with his Poles again invaded Russia. The army 
of the Ozar commanded by the Swedish generals con- 
sisted mostly of foreign levies. The Czar failed to 
pay the troops and they in the presence of the ene- 
my refused to obey and mutinied. De la Gardie and 
Horn made a wonderful retreat through a hostile coun- 
try to the Swedish frontier. 

During these troubles in 1611 the Swedish arms 
were covered with glory. De la Gardie made himself 
master of Kexholm, took Novgorod by storm, and con- 
cluded a convention by which the Russians agreed to 
acknowledge a Swedish Prince, Charles Philip, as their 
Grand Duke. These tidings first reached Charles on 
his death bed. 

While the Swedish arms were covered with glory 
and advanced far into Russia, Denmark under her 
young and ambitious King Christian IV. began hostil- 
ities against Sweden. Charles had built fortifications 
at the mouth of Gota River and there laid out the city 
of Gothenburg which with its magnificent harbor on 
the Atlantic coast increased so rapidly in importance 
that it was plain this city was destined to become 

1599—1611. CHARLES IX. 289 

one of the principal ports of Sweden. The Danes had 
with apprehension and jealousy watched the rapidly 
rising power of Sweden and her influence on the af- 
fairs of Europe. The health of Charles began to fail, 
though his mind was as clear and resourceful as 
ever. He was ably seconded by his son, the sixteen 
year old Gustavus Adolphus, who in the approaching 
war with Denmark received his first lessons in mili- 
tary tactics. The Swedish and Danish armies met 
near the city of Calmar, where they entrenched them- 
selves. The young Gustavus Adolphus with a divi- 
sion of the Swedish army made an extended flank 
movement and fell upon the rear of the Danes, where- 
by he secured the Danish commissariat and treasure. 
The commandant of the castle of Calmar proved a 
traitor to his country and opened the gates of the cas- 
tle to the Danes. It was now late in the season of 
1611. The contending armies withdrew and went into 
their winter quarters, while Charles and the young 
Gustavus Adolphus returned to Stockholm. On the 
way, Charles was taken suddenly sick and died at Ny- 
koping, October 30, 1611. 

The Internal Administration of Charles. — It has fal- 
len to the lot of few rulers to accomplish so much for 
their country and to reform the internal administra- 
tion so successfully as Charles IX. did during the un- 
settled and turbulent times of his reign, short though 
it was. He brought order out of chaos. In the vari- 
ous branches of the administration, the work begun 
by his father, the energetic Gustavus Vasa, was con- 
tinued by his youngest son, Charles IX., after his older 
brothers had during the interval neglected it. The life 
of Charles was too short to carry to completion all hisi 


plans. But he was accustomed to refer to his promis- 
ing son, Gustavus Adolphus as the one who was to 
finish his work by the words, "Ille faciet" (he will 
do it). 

Charles did not act arbitrarily in his reforms. Every 
important question was submitted to the representa- 
tives of the people — the Estates were convened to 
meet in Kiksdag, and under free discussion enact laws 
for the welfare of the realm. Charles carefully pre- 
pared his propositions and submitted them for the 
cdnsideration of the Eiksdag. He had generally the 
commons on his side, who by this time began to out- 
weigh the nobility in .importance. He brought about 
great improvements in the administration of justice 
by a revision of the old Lands-law, and having it print- 
ed and freely distributed throughout the land. ,He 
made frequent journeys through the country, and any 
extortion or injustice committed by the officers charg- 
ed with the administration of justice was severely pun- 

Charles IX. was prudent and economical in his man- 
agement of the finances; he regulated the mints, and 
established the value of the currency. He also en- 
couraged manufacturing. The mining industries, how- 
ever, were the object of his special solicitude. This in- 
dustry he considered to be of the greatest value to the 
Swedish people, for the exportation of minerals coun- 
terbalanced very largely the imports of the country. 

A chain of fortifications was erected on all the 
frontiers. An offensive and defensive alliance was 
concluded with the Dutch, French and German powers 
against Spain and Austria in anticipation of the out- 

1599—1611. CHARLES IX. 291 

break of the war which was to last more than a genera- 

Charles was a highly educated Prince and encour- 
aged the intellectual and spiritual development of his 
people by endowments of the Upsala University and 
other gymnasiums and the extension of parochial 
schools. He encouraged men of letters by appointing 
them to self-supporting offices, and generously reward- 
ed their efforts. 

Anxious that the truth concerning his father's and 
his own rule might be preserved for future genera- 
tions, the King ordered a history of Sweden down to 
the end of his reign to be written. "The historian 
must write truth," he says in his Rhyme Chronicle. It 
is with pleasure that we dwell upon the achievements 
of the youngest and the greatest of the sons of Gus- 
tavus Vasa. He was unyielding to his enemies, but he 
was loyal to his friends. He was liberal and tolerant 
in his religious views. In his testament he especially 
recommends to his children friendship with the evan- 
gelical Princes of Germany. Thus in the soul of 
Charles perchance more than in any of his contempor- 
aries glowed the sparks of the fiery future, which burst 
into flames during the Thirty Years' War. If Chaxles 
IX. had not prepared Sweden, she might not have pro- 
duced the glorious Gustavus Adolphus and other re- 
nowned heroes. Such men there are, full of the spirit 
of the hereafter, who with or without their own will 
and intent carry a nation forward at their side. Ex- 
cept his father, no man before him exerted so deep an 
influence on the Swedish people. More than a hundred 
years passed away, and a like personal influence was 
still reigning on the throne of Sweden. The nation, 


hard to move, except for immediate self-defense, from 
the close of the Viking age down to the present, was 
borne along unwilling and yet admiring, repugnant 
yet loving, as if some spark of the old Asa faith were 
still burning in their breasts and as if they were drawn 
by some potent impulse, following Gustavus and 
Charles to victory, fame and even to the verge of perdi- 

Charles IX. was twice married; first to Maria of 
Palatine, a union which was blessed with one daugh- 
ter, Catherine, who became the wife of John Casimir, 
and the ancestress of the Swedish Royal House of Pal- 
atine, of whom more will be told later. 

His second wife was Christina of Holstein Got- 
torp by whom he had two sons, Gustavus Adolphus and 
Charles Philip, and a daughter, Maria Elizabeth. 


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Gustavus Adblphus' Early Years — Education — Military Genius — Title as 
King — ^Unsettled Condition of Sweden — Swedish Magna Charta — 
Th,e Eiddarhus — The Tour Estates — Gustavus a Constitutional Mon- 
arch — His Frequent Consultations with Riksdags — Resources for the 
Support of the Government — Resources of the Country and Indus- 
tries — Departments of the Government — ^The Administration of Jus- 
tice — Upsala University and Gustavus — Danish War — Unfavorable 
Treaty of Peace — Russian War — De la Gardie's Victories — A Swed- 
ish Prince Elected Czar of Russia — Treaty of Peace Repudiated by 
Gustavus — War Renewed — Peace and Boundaries — The Polish War 
— Romanism and Protestantism in Opposing Camps — Sigismund's 
Claim to the Crown of Sweden — Rejects Offer of Peace — Gustavus 
and the Polish War — Victories — Negotiations for Alliance with the 
Protestants — Invasion of Poland — Progress of the War — The Em- 
peror Aids Sigismund — Thirty Years' War in Germany — Poland and 
Turkey — Gustavus Takes Courland and Livonia — Campaign in Pol- 
and — Denmark in the Thirty Years' War — Six Years' Armistice be- 
tween Sweden and Poland. 

King Gustavus II. Adolphus was bom at the Eoyal 
Palace of Stockholm, o;i December 9, 1594. In his 
early .youth he accompanied his father Charles IX. on 
his various journeys through the kingdom. John 
Skytte and Otto Moerner were selected as the young 
Prince's tutors, the former being a highly educated 
scholar and diplomat, the latter marshal to King 
Charles, a widely traveled gentleman, a man of cul- 
ture and a distinguished soldier. The Prince was 
only ten years of age when he was brought into the 


1611—1632. GUSTAVUS II. ADOLPHUS. 297 

Council by his father, that he might familiarize him- 
self with the routine of the government. He was ob- 
liged to be present at audiences and embassies, and 
thus to make himself acquainted with the weighty 
affairs of S^ate. Sweden being at this time at war 
with her neighbors and a truce having been concluded 
between the Netherlands and Spain, many officers 
flocked thither from Germany, England, France, Scot- 
land, the Netherlands and even Italy and Spain as the 
best place to seek their fortunes. 

■ The young Prince, therefore, not only received theo- 
retical instruction from his tutors, but, by contact 
with many eminent men of all European nations, ac- 
quired an education practical in its bearings, land 
cosmopolitan in character. Their discourse about 
wars, sieges, discipline, military tactics, manoeuvres, 
fortifications and battles by land and sea as well as 
ships and navigation so aroused and encouraged the 
mind of the young Prince, that he spent much of his 
time in the company of these distinguished persons 
and expressed a desire to emulate the heroes of other 
nations, and if possible to excel them. 

During his early years he gained an accurate and 
fluent knowledge of many foreign languages, which he 
spoke and wrote readily. When Gustavus had attained 
his sixteenth year he was invested with knighthood 
with great state and ceremony; henceforth he wore 
a sword and was placed in command of the guard. He 
was then made Grand Prince of Finland, and Duke of 
Estland and Westmanland with right to govern the 
same. When the war broke out between Denmark 
and Sweden, in 1611, he, with a separate division of 
the army, showed his ability as a commander by the 


destruction of Christianople, the principal Danish ar- 
senal in Scania, and the reconquest of Oland, both of 
them notable achievements, and the most fortunate 
victories during this vrar. Calmar would have been 
saved but for the treason of its commandant. The 
Swedes at this time defended their walls by men, not 
their men by walls. 

Gustavus Adolphus became King shortly after the 
death of his father. The Queen Dowager, Duke John, 
son of King John, and the Council of State govern- 
ed for two months afterwards, until Dec. 10, 1611, 
when the Estates met in Eiksdag in Nykoping, and on 
December 17, Duke John renounced all claims to the 
crown. On the 26th of December, in the presence 
of the Estates, Gustavus Adolphus assumed the gov- 
ernment of his father committed to his charge under 
the style and title of "Elected King of Sweden and 
Hereditary Prince of the Swedes, Goths and Vendes." 
He was then in the first month of his eighteenth year. 
His friend and chancellor, Axel Oxenstjerna, was 
twenty-eight years old. 

Sweden was in an exhausted condition. She had 
enjoyed no peace since the reign of Christian II. In- 
surrections had raged within, and wars without, two 
Kings had lost their crowns, the throne was stained 
with blood, many of the prominent men of the land 
had been led to the block or been banished, fear and 
discontent prevailed among the people, the mighty 
were a law to themselves — such was the condition of 
the kingdom when the crown was placed upon the 
head of this young Prince. 

The Koyal Accession Oath or warrant given by 
Gustavus Adolphus may be called the Swedish Magna 

1611—1632. GUSTAVUS II. ADOLPHUS. 299 

Charta. Although the oath required of the King had 
been embodied in the Lands-law many centuries be- 
fore this time, nevertheless, 'that now taken by Gus- 
tavus contains divers exact definitions and limitations 
mainly giving express confirmation to certain princi- 
ples sanctioned by law, as follows: — 
, ' 1. No one shall be condemned upon mere allega- 
tion, without knowing the accuser or being brought 
face to face with him before the court. 

2. The King shall insure to all orders and persons 
their due respect and to all officers their proper dig- 
nity, and shall degrade none from his office unless law- 
fully empowered so to do. 

3. No new law or tax shall be imposed upon the 
people except by the consent of the Eiksdag. 

4. War, peace, truces, and alliances shall not be 
made except by consent of the Eiksdag. 

The nobility acquired enlarged privileges during 
the reign of Gustavus Adolphus for which he in turn 
demanded special services from them. He granted 
a charter to the councillors of state and the nobility to 
erect the Eiddarhus, a house for the barons in Stock- 
holm. The charter provided that the whole baronage 
in Sweden and Finland stould be enrolled and divided 
into three orders. The first consisted of counts and 
freeborn; the second of descendants of councillors of 
state; the third of all others who served for their free- 
holds. Every family was to have an armorial seal. 
Each class was assigned its position at the meetings 
and its manner of voting. The Eiddarhus became one 
of the Estates— the first of the realm; the second 
Estate consisted of bishops and clergy, the thjrd of the 
burgesses from the cities, and the fourth of the com- 


mon folk, the odalmen — the bondes ■ or landholder 

Gustavus Adolphus from the first day of his rule 
until the day of his death acted as constitutional mon- 
arch, abiding by the law as enacted by the Eiksdag. 
Botvidi in delivering the funeral oration over the la- 
mented King said: — "Gustavus Adolphus received his 
kingdom with empty hands, yet deprived he no man 
of his own by violence; but what the necessities of the 
realm required, that he let the people know on their 
days of free assemblage, that they might consider the 
matter, and give tribute to the crown according to its 
need." History must bear witness to the undying re- 
nown of this great man, who during all his struggles 
in peace and in war refrained from violence and ille- 
gal means of collecting taxes and subsidies for his 
many internal improvements and the carry- 
ing on of his great wars against foreign 
foes. Riksdags were frequent, Gustavus, like 
his father, ruling in abiding harmony with 
the Estates of the realm whom he c.onsulted on 
domestic policy, as well as on home government and 
the conduct of foreign affairs. This confidential re- 
lation existing between the ruler and his subjects ac- 
counts in a large measure for the great admiration 
and love with which the Swedes regarded their King, 
They supported him with their money and their lives, 
marched with him cheerfully and bravely in all his 
battles, and have revered his memory since his death. 

The resources of the country, when it was plunged 
into these wars, were not commensurate with the de- 
mands made upon them; all classes were heavily bur- 
dened with levies and taxes, 

1611—1632. GUSTAVUS H. ADOLPHUS. 301 

The resources for the support of the government 
were: — 

1. Loans. The government borrowed money at a 
high rate of interest on the security of the taxes paid 
by certain pl*ovinces, or the right to collect the duties 
of certain ports. 

2. Sale and hypothecation of the Crown lands, be- 
ing mortgages of the Crown estates with authority to 
collect the rents tliereof for certain periods. 

3. Monopolies: — by which the government either 
directly or by farming out to companies, levied con- 
tributions from the trade and commerce of the coun- 

A large amount of imposts and duties were collect- 
ed in kind, in produce and in manufactured goods. On 
account of the scarcity of coin, the government, in 
order to dispose of the stock, was compelled to mai;Q- 
tain general warehouses and salesrooms as well as 
officers charged with the disposal of such revenues. 

The favorable situation of Sweden and its many 
industries are well descritled by William Uselinx, a 
native of Holland, who was a promoter of the South 
Sea Company and a favorite of the King, from whom 
he had obtained the right to enroll subscribers for the 
stock in all parts of Sweden., 

"The Kingdom of Sweden," he says, "has many ad- 
vantages above other countries in seaports, timber, 
victuals, copper, iron, steel, pitch, tar, shot and other 
munitions of war; the wages of labor are reasonable, 
and the workmen and mechanics are of the best. The 
inhabitants of the land are a hardy folk who can en- 
dure cold and heat, are docile, active, and quick. They 
fire also obedient to their rulers, and little inclined to- 


wards sedition and revolt, wherein they excel many 
other nations and peoples. They want for nothing, 
if they would but exert themselves to become expert 
seamen; for they do not lack intelligence, dexterity, 
and courage. From olden times they have been good 
ship-builders and they are handy with the axe. In re- 
spect to the manufacture of fine linen, cloth, worsted, 
baize, bombazine and so forth, not much is produced 
except for house use, partly for want of material and 
partly because there is no outlet for disposing of such 
wares. But of skill and shrewdness they hdve plenty, 
for we find peasants apt at all sorts of handiwork. 
They are carpenters, joiners, smiths, bakers, brewers, 
w^eavers, dyers; they make shoes and cloths and the 
like, wherein they surpass all other nations of Europe. 
Their wives and daughters make many curious devices 
in sewing, weaving and other arts, whence it appears 
that they are. very skillful and wise-minded." 

The natural capacity which the Swedes possessed, 
was during this age especially directed to warlike 
ends, but this warlike spirit stimulated their energies 
to take up many other industries. The wars opened 
up new countries. The armies had to be supplied with 
all sorts of accoutrements, provisions, and supplies, 
thus making a market for the industries at home. 

The several administrative departments of the State 
had not been up to this time clearly defined, but under 
the directing hand of Oxenstjema, who selected able 
and educated men, the various branches of the govern- 
ment were reorganized and order was brought out of 

The judiciary had always had an independent ex- 
istence, but suitors and aggrieved persons had been 

1611—1632. CJUSTAVUS II. ADOLPHUS. 303 

accustomed to seek assistance from the King by pre- 
sentations of petitions and memorials instead of hav- 
ing recourse to the legally constituted judiciary tri- 
bunals; whereby the King was continually burdened, 
when there was ample provision and redress for them 
in the courts. At the Riksdag of Orebro, in 1614, the 
King proposed that a Supreme Court should be estab- 
lished at Stockholm and another at Abo in Finland, 
consisting of fourteen members learned in law, which 
should be a court of appeal from the lower tribunals. 
What benefit these courts have been to the nation all 
residents of the country, high and low, rich and poor, 
can testify. The judges were paid by salaries and not 
by fees. In their instructions and oath of office they 
M ere reminded of the old law dating back to the hea- 
then days, that they must be no respecters of persons, 
that they must well consider each case and the equity 
thereof and that, if they took bribes, the ancient penal- 
ty would be inflicted, namely, "the skin would be 
taken from the judge's back and nailed to the bench 
as a warning for others." 

The turbulent times of over three quarters of a cen- 
tury had affected the education of the country. The 
professors at Upsala instead of devoting themselves 
exclusively to the education of the young men com- 
mitted to their charge, were spending their time in 
controversies and disputes;and with students divided 
into hostile factions, open disorders, fights and blood- 
shed were frequent. 

This state of affairs came to the ears of the King. 
He wrote to the professors that if it were not that 
he appreciated the value of education he would annul 
the charter of the University and dissolve the school 


He reorganized the staff of professors, removed certain 
of them, able men, to other spheres of usefulness, 
and appointed new ones. He endowed the University 
of Upsala liberally out of his paternal estate with 
three hundred and fifty manors to remain in its pos- 
session forever, besides tithes of certain provinces, pas- 
toral charges for the theological professors, and sev- 
eral scholarships and aids of various kinds for needy 

He established a medical department at the Uni- 
versity, fully endowed, for the benefit of a profession 
formerly neglected. Smaller academies and schools 
were established in large numbers throughout the 

The Danish, Kussian and Polish wars. — Gustavus 
Adolphus was not destined to spend his days in peace 
and leisure. The pleasures of youth were early ex- 
changed for the serious work of life. Wars with Den- 
mark, Poland, and Kussia he inherited from his father. 
Gustavus at once directed all his efforts to securing 
peace with Denmark. A long stretch of country on 
thfe western coast of Sweden was in reality a province 
of Denmark. Even the forts and castles of Elfsborg 
and Calmar were in the possession of the Danish King. 
The war was carried on with much cruelty and de- 
struction of property. The two Kings, both of them 
yoting and ambitious, directed the movements of their 
troops in person. Christian IV. determined to con- 
qiier Sweden; Gustavus Adolphus determined to save 
th(> fatherland, if possible, and drive the Danes beyond 
tht' Sound. 

The war continued with fluctuating fortunes until 
at last the Swede? were in the ascendant and Christi- 

1611—1632. GUSTAVUS II. ADOLPHUS. 305 

an IV. agreed to a peace which was signed in the small 
mountainous village of Knarod in the province of Hal- 
land, op. January 19, 1613. Denmark was left in the 
possession of the Swedish west coast provinces, Hal- 
land, Scania and Bleking. 

Many have wondered that the Swedes, after so 
many signal victories, at this time yielded to the Danes 
and let them remain in possession of these provinces, 
cutting thmselves off for so long from the Atlantic 
ocean and seeking extension of territory in Germany, 
Poland and Russia instead, and the question has been 
asked: — After Gustavus Adolphus became master of 
Germany, why did he not reconquer the southern prov- 
inces of Sweden and drive Christian IV. out? The his- 
torian finds an answer in the peculiar condi- 
tions of the times which was not favorable to such 
an enterprise. Sometimes what cannot be obtained 
by a frontal attack, is more easily gained by flank 
movements. This course was pursued by the Swed- 
ish Kings and generals in respect to Denmark, but it 
took about fifty years to bring about the desired result. 
Both countries desired peace and Sweden in particular. 
She was at war with Russia in which she had one army 
under command of Jacob De la Gardie. Another 
army was stationed in eastern Poland to check the 
advances of Sigismund, who still laid claim to the 
Swedish crown. Peace with Denmark was a neces- 
sity for Sweden that she might have her hands free in 
the east. 

War with Russia. — Fortunately for Gustavus Adol- 
phus and Sweden, Poland had been inactive during 
the war with Denmark; but with Russia hostilities 
had been conducted with great vigor by the Swedes, 


Jacob de la Gardie in command of the Swedish ar- 
my defeated the Eussians in several pitched battles 
and conquered Ingermanland, Novgorod and the whole 
of Northwestern liussia. He then, without consulting 
the King or the Swedish government, concluded a 
treaty oi peace by which Charles Philip, the younger 
brother of Gustavus Adolphus, was elected Czar of Eus- 
sia. Gustavus Adolphus not having been consulted 
on so important a subject as the treaty of peace and 
the placing of his brother as ruler over a turbulent 
and at that time half-civilized people, would not ratify 
the treaty until he should appear in person on the 
frontier and meet the Eussians. On account of the ratifying this treaty the Eussians in the mean- 
while elected Michael Romanoff to be their Czar. 
Under the leadership of this young prince they re- 
gained courage and the war broke out afresh. Gustav- 
us Adolphus and Evert Horn arrived with several.regi- 
ments and the Swedes were victorious all along the 
line. The war continued until 1617 when a treaty of 
peace was agreed to at Stalbova. Sweden retained 
Carelia, Kexholm and Ingria with all fortifications 
on a line running from north to south. All other Eus- 
sian provinces conquered by Sweden were surrendered 
to Eussia., The boundary of Sweden on the East was 
defined by this treaty, signed Feb. 17, 1617, and Eussia 
had no longer an outlet through the Baltic to the West 
of Europe. An armistice having been concluded be- 
tween Sweden and Poland, the fo-rmer now secured a 
short interval of peace which she could devote to the 
internal welfare of an exhausted country. 

The Polish War. 1618—1629. Since the beginning 
of the reformation, Europe had been divided into two 

1011—1632. GUSTAVUS II. ADOLPHUS. 307 

hostile camps, the Catholic and the Protestant, and al- 
though the original dispute was religious at the time, 
it was not long before this division took on a political 
aspect, and the struggle was transferred from one 
place to another by these powerful factions. At first 
it was a dispute between the priests, who hurled their 
anathemas against each other, but as protestantism 
was accepted by the Princes and by whole States, those 
Princes who adhered to Catholicism were spurred on 
by the See of Eome to take up arms against the here- 
tics. The contest between Poland and Sweden in part 
had its origin in this religious division. Sigismund 
lost the Swedish crown on account of his being a cath- 
olic, and Sweden protestant. He was now encouraged 
in his claim to the Swedish crown by Austria and 
Spain, who sent him subsidies and soldiers, and he 
was waiting for a Spanish fleet from the Netherlands 
to help him against Sweden. Gustavus Adolphus had 
formed an offensive and defensive alliance with the 
protestant Netherland Republic; friendly relations 
existed between England, the Hansa Cities, and the 
Protestant States of Germany, who formed what was 
called the Evangelical Union in order to thwart the 
Roman Catholic League, formed for the purpose of 
crushing out protestantism. At the head of the Evan- 
gelical Union at this time stood Prince Frederik 
Palatine, while Maximilian of Bavaria directed the 
forces of the Catholic League. War broke out between 
the powerful parties in 1618 when the protestants of 
Bavaria elected Frederik of Palatine King. This was 
the beginning of the Thirty Years' War. Gustavus 
Adolphus had from the outset been negotiating with 
the Evangelical Union, but these negotiations were 


discontinued when in 1620 the protestants were de- 
feated by the Catholic League at Prague, and the 
latter became masters in Southern Germany. 

Sigismund of Poland and the Turks were now en- 
gaged in a bloody conflict. Gustavus Adolphus in vain 
offered terms of peace to Sigismund, for the latter con- 
temptuously rejected them. In the summer of 1621, 
Gustavus Adolphus with a well equipped army sailed 
from Sweden and arriving in Livonia besieged the City 
of Eiga. The investment continued for nearly a month 
during which the city defended itself desperately, only 
to be taken by storm in the end. The King with his 
army entered the city and treated the inhabitants 
with great consideration. Livonia accepted the Swed- 
ish King and swore him fealty. He conquered Carelia, 
driving the Polish army from one stronghold after 
another and putting garrisons in the cities and castles. 
His fame as a successful general spread over Europe, 
and many soldiers seeking fortunes in war rushed to 
his standard. He was invited by the protestants of 
Germany to become the leader of their cause against 
the victorious Catholic ,League. Gustavus Adolphus 
consented to assume the now desperate protestant 
cause on condition that Holland and England would 
give their support and that the chief command and 
direction of the war be placed in his hands. This" 
plan fell through because Christian IV. of Denm^k 
having with a jealous eye watched the rising star of 
Gustavus Adolphus, determined to prevent the latter 
from undertaking such a vast enterprise, which might 
completely overshadow him and Denmark.So the latter 
hastened to the assistance of the German protestants, 
concluded an alliance with them and the Count Mans- 

1611—1632. GUSTAVUS II. ADOLPHUS. 309 

field, and opened war on the Emperor and the Catholic 
League. Gustavus watched the progress of the war 
from a distance, and pursued his subjugation of 
Poland and Livonia. The Poles were defeated in sev- 
eral pitched battles and finally at the battle of Wall- 
hof on January 7, 1626, Gustavus was in undisputed 
possession of Coiirland and Livonia. He now prepared 
plans for another campaign. He determined to carry the 
war into -East Prussia, which under Polish suzerainty 
belonged to the Elector of Brandenburg, Gustavus' 
own brother-in-law. But in war everything must yield 
to the necessities and exigencies of the times. Firstly, 
Gustavus was determined to strike Poland in her most 
vital spot so as to compel Sigismund to agree to peace; 
secondly, he desired to be closer to the scene of the 
war now being waged in Germany between the Em- 
peror and the protestants. Having augmented the 
number of his native and foreign troops, he sailed on 
June 15, 1626, with 150 ships and an army of 13 regi- 
ments of foot soldiers and 9 squadrons of cavalry, an- 
chored at Pillau on the 26th of June, and took the city; 
thereupon he sent his troops to Dantzig; stormed the 
fortifications, put the Polish garrison to rout, and 
quartered his soldiers in the suburbs. After the city had 
received the King he continued his campaign in Poland 
during the year 1627 where victory continued to crown 
his efforts. Sigismund in some of these campaigns 
was present personally, and directed the operations, 
but he was continually defeated by the Swedes. Even 
after continuous reverses he could not be prevailed 
upon to accept terms of peace. These many battles 
fought by Gustavus Adolphus in Poland gave him an 
experience in warfare whose value was incalculable. 


It was a preparatory school which he passed through 
fitting him for the great operations which he was soon 
to undertake and direct in Germany against the great- 
est captains of the age, Tilly, Wallenstein, and others. 
But while he continued to reap laurels in Poland, 
often at the risk of his life, the cause of the protestants 
under the direction of Christian IV. of Denmark was 
becoming desperate. The imperial army under com- 
mand of Wallenstein defeated Mansfield and the 
protestants. Christian of Denmark and his allied 
troops were routed by General Tilly. The clouds of 
war rolled northward and Denmark was near extinc- 
tion. The danger was also threatening Sweden, for 
the Emperor was plotting against her, so Gustavus 
now sought to form a new coalition between the sev- 
eral protestant rulers, but since the imperial troops 
had scattered the German protestants, the latter were 
not in a condition to make much further resistance. 
Through the intercession of France, an armistice of 
six years' duration between Sweden and Poland was 
signed at Altmark, Sept. 16, 1629, when the territory 
of each bellig(?rent was defined- 



GUSTAVUS 11. ADOLPHUS. (Continued.) 


Gustavus Adolphus and the Riksdag — Resolved to carry on the War in 
the Enemy's Country — Preparations — Army and Navy — Number of 
Troops — Gustavus Presents his Daughter to the Riksdag — The Fare- 
well — ^The Departure — Landing on the Shores of Pomerania— Ad- 
vances — Retreat of the Enemy — Discipline of the Swedish Army — 
Treaties with Hansa Cities and with France — Magdeburg in Peril 
— Indiff'erence of the Protestants — Fall of Magdeburg — The Horrors 
Enacted — Tilly and His Barbarity — Germany Turns to Gustavus 
for Help — His Proclamation — Trials — Saxony Invaded by the Im- 
perialists — The Electors — George of Saxony — Forms Alliances — Gus- 
tavus and Duke Weimar — Battle of Breitenfeld — The Swedish Army 
— The Imperialists — Tactics of Gustavus — Tilly and Pappenheim— 
Formation of the Armies — The Battle — The Victory of Gustavus — 
Tha Dead and Wounded — The Battle marks an Epoch — Germany lay 
Open to Gustavus — Recruits His Army — Tilly's New Army — ^Wallen- 
stein in the Field — March of Gustavus — ^Battle of Lutzen — Position 
of Wallenstein's Army — Position of the Army of Gustavus — The 
Battle — Fall of Gustavus — Fury Seized upon the Swedish Troops^- 
Wallenstein Defeated — Pappenheim Killed — The Swedes Hold the 
Field — Recovery .of the King's Body — The Swede-Stone — The Sus- 
picions against Francis Albert — Appearance and Character of Gus- 
tavus — The Opinion of Historians on the Loss by Gustavus' Death 
— Axel Oxenstjerna in Power. 

Gustavus Adolphus Takes Part in the Thirty Years' 
Wan — Gustavus Adolphus did not take an active part 
in the Thirty Years' War until he had consulted the 
Estates of Sweden in Riksdag. This was done on dif- 
ferent occasions. As early as June 29, 1629, the Riks- 
dag had passed a resolution that "The King might 


carry on the war as far as possible from the borders 
of Sweden and lay its burden on the enemies' country." 
The participation of Sweden in the war was already 
determined upon. The King continued his prepara- 
tions with great activity and vigor. Several new regi- 
ments were raised, provisions and materials for war 
were collected, and a light artillery was organized 
and equipped, quite contrary to the then prevailing 
custom, which proved very efficacious during the Ger- 
man war. Ships and transports were collected from 
all parts of the country to carry the army from Sweden 
over the Baltic to the shores of Germany. In May 1630 
the ships of war were ordered to be ready in the harbor 
of Stockholm. The transports assembled in the harbor 
of Elbsnabben. The fleet consisted of twenty-eight 
vessels of war, large and small, besides a large num- 
ber of merchant ships and boats. The strength of 
the army is not definitely stated, probably on account 
of its limited numbers. There were ninety-two com- 
panies of foot and sixteen of horse, besides excellent 
artillery — in all about 15,000 men. The cavalry and 
artillery were wholly Swedish, the infantry about one- 
half, the balance being made up of Germans and 

On May 19, 1630, Gustavus Adolphus summoned be- 
fore him the Estates assembled in Riksdag and present- 
ed to them his young daughter, Christina, then hard- 
ly four years old, as the heiress of his kingdom, and 
commended her to their fidelity and honor. He took 
a moving farewell of them, declaring that the war was 
not undertaken for personal glory or selfish motives, 
but for the relief of the oppressed of their own faith, 
and because of the danger threatening the realm from 

1611—1632. GUSTAVUS II. ADOLPHUS. (Continued.) 313 

the Emperor, who was besieging Stralsund and, unless 
quickly checked, would soon attack Sweden. The oc- 
casion was one of great solemnity and the assemblage 
was moved to tears. The government at home was en- 
trusted to the Council of State. On the 30th of May, 
the King embarked on the fleet which was divided into 
four squadrons. On midsummer day 1630, the King 
anchored off the little Island of Euden near the mouth 
of the Oder. After some reconnoissance the army was 
landed on Usedom. The King was the first to set foot 
on shore, fell on his knees in fervent prayer, and then 
took spade in hand and with the soldiers began to 
dig entrenchments while part of the army was drawn 
up in order of battle. But no enemy was in sight. His 
first object was to gain a footing in Pomerania and 
Mecklenburg. Bogislaus, Duke of Pomerania, was ac- 
cordingly compelled to join his cause and the imperial 
garrisons were driven out of the minor towns during 
the winter of 1631 with little resistance. Torquato 
Conti, the imperial stadtholder of Pomerania, unable 
to resist the advance of the Swedes, retreated, burning 
the towns and laying the country waste. Tilly showed 
no anxiety to meet them. Pappenheim was not near 
enough to oppose them, but wreaked his vengeance 
upon the princes in sympathy with Sweden. The 
advance of Gustavus was rapid and one city after 
another in Pomerania as well as the free Hansa cities 
opened their gates to him. To the capture of Stettin 
succeeded that of Damm and Stargard by a secret 
understanding with the burghers, who welcomed the 
Swedes as liberators. The rigorous discipline of the 
soldiery awakened no less astonishment than did the 
personal attributes of the King. 


A treaty was meanwhile concluded at Baarwald be- 
tween Gustavus and the French Monarch who prom- 
ised him subsidies and aid on account of the lukewarm- 
ness of the Lutheran princes. Gustavus, owing to 
their selfishness, was on the point of making terms 
with the Emperor and returning to Sweden, when 
Gustav Horn brought him considerable reinforcements 
from Finland and Livonia. 

Magde;burg was being besieged by the imperialists, 
and urgent requests were sent to Gustavus by the 
beleaguered citizens begging him to come to their re- 
lief. But the German Princes had so far not declared 
themselves allies of the Swedes; on the contrary the 
Electors of Brandenburg and Saxony convened a coun- 
cil of princes at Leipzig in which they sought to per- 
suade the princes of Northern Germany, both Luther- 
ans and Calvinists, to maintain a status of armed neu- 
trality and await the course of events in order to turn 
them to their own advantage. 

The Fall of Magdeburg. -^Gustavus did not dare 
to leave his base of operations and march into the 
enemy's country. His appeal to the protestant Elec- 
tors to save Magdeburg failed. The citizens of that ill- 
fated city meanwhile performed prodigies of valor. 
Falkenberg, an old veteran, was sent by Gustavus to 
take command in the town. He eluded the imperi- 
alist's trenches and was admitted into the city where 
great disorder and distress prevailed. Many citizens 
were imperialists and kept up communications with 
the enemy. 

Tilly at the head of an immense body of troops 
closely invested the walls of the city and, despite a 
desperate defense by the citizens,took all the outworks. 

1611—1632. GUSTAVUS IT. ADOLPHUS. (Continued.) 315 

During the night of May 20, 1631, whilst Falkenberg 
in a council was opposing the imperialists who insisted 
upon capitulating, several breaches were made in the 
defenses, and the imperialists under Pappenheim 
poured into the streets and filled the city. Falkenberg 
rushed to the defense and was shot. The citizens 
fought with desperate courage until overwhelmed by 
numbers. The soldiers spared neither age nor sex. 
The slaughter was indiscriminate. Every man in the 
city was killed, women were outraged, children were 
thrust through and thrown into the flames. Many 
women threw themselves into the Elbe or into the 
burning houses to escape the brutality of the soldiers. 
Women kneeling in prayer in the churches were be- 
headed by the Croats. One hundred and thirty seven 
houses and the fireproof cathedral in which four 
thousand men took refuge were all that remained of 
this proud and beautiful city. The rest of the in- 
habitants had fallen victims to the sword or to the 
flames. On May 22 Tilly appeared and restored disci- 
pline and order. This grim warrior, a tall haggard 
looking man dressed in a short green satin jacket with 
a long red feather in his high-crowned large-brimined 
hat, peering with large bright eyes from beneath his 
shaggy brows and wearing a bristling mustache on his 
deep-furrowed face with its mephisto nose, — a gastly, 
hollow cheeked, wild atid fantastic-looking appari- 
tion, — sat mounted on a large bony charger, and 
viewed what remained of Magdeburg, proudly regard- 
ing the ruin 'and devastation his soldiers had made, 
and the thirty thousand bodies of brave citizens, now 
cold in death, which at his command were thrown into 
the Elbe. The river was choked up by this mass of 


corpses, and terrible was the result upon the surround- 
ing country of the decomposition of the dead bodies. 
The news of this disaster filled Gustavus with rage, 
and all Christendom shuddered at such sav- 
age brutality. The protestants were panic-stricken, 
fearing that the same horror would befall them-selves, 
unless the imperialists were checked in their fiendish 
career. All Germany now turned to Gustavus and his 
Swedes for help in the hour of despair. 

To learn whether the protestant armed neutrality 
was a fact or not, Gustavus marched upon Berlin and, 
stationing himself sword in hand before the gate, de- 
manded from the Elector George William a definite 
declaration. The Elector was the brother-in-law of 
Gustavus. Ten years earlier Gustavus had won his 
bride against the wishes of her brother, who would 
rather have bestowed her hand upon Vladislaw, the 
rival of Gustavus. The Elector being slow in answer- 
ing on account of division among the citizens, the 
Swedish Monarch offered him the alternative of his 
alliance or the reduction of Berlin to a heap of ashes, 
whereupon the Elector yielded and a Swedish garrison 
was placed in the city. The period from the destruc- 
tion of Magdeburg to. the victory at Leipzig, that is 
to say the Summer of 1631, is beyond doubt the most 
trying time which Gustavus Adolphus ^pent in Ger- 
many. He could not come to the aid of that unfort- 
unate city and yet the failure to do so was laid to his 
charge. He defended himself by a proclamation set- 
ting forth the reasons and circumstances which de- 
tained him, located as he was in the enemy's country. 
However, many of the citizens of the smaller towns 
flocked to his standard, and he made considerable head- 

1611—1632. GUSTAVUS II. ADOLPHUS. (Continued.) 317 

way against the imperialists. John George, Elector of 
Saxony, wavered for a long time, but the imperial 
army invaded his country and several hundred burn- 
ing villages and the demands of his protestant subjects 
changed his mind and he hastened to join the Swedes. 
Eighteen thousand Saxon troops were placed under the 
command of Gustavus. The Land-grave of Hesse-Cassel 
and Duke Bernard of Weimar also formed an alliance 
with him. 

The following excellent account of the Battle of 
Breitenfeld is taken from Schiller's Thirty Years' War: 

"Immediately upon the close of the treaties, the 
King crossed the Elbe, and next day joined the Saxons. 
Instead of preventing this junction, Tilly had ad- 
vanced against Leipzig, which he summoned to receive 
au imperial garrison. In hopes of speedy relief, Hans 
Von der Pforta, the commandant, made preparations 
for his defense, and laid the suburb toward Halle in 
ashes. But the ill condition of the fortifications made 
resistance vain, and on the second day the gates were 
opened. Tilly had fixed his headquarters in the house 
of a grave-digger, the only one still standing in the 
suburb of Halle; here the capitulation was signed, and 
here, too, he arranged his, attack on the King of Swed- 
en.^ Tilly grew pale at the representation of the 
deaths' head and cross-bones with which the proprietor 
had decorated his house; and contrary to all expecta- 
tions, Leipzig experienced moderate treatment. 

Meanwhile, a council of war was held at Torgau 
between the King of Sweden and the Elector of Sax- 
ony, at which the Elector of Brandenburg was also 
present. The resolution which should now be adopted 
yras to decide irrevocably the fate of Germany and the 


protestant religion, the happiness of nations and the 
destiny of their princes. The anxiety of suspense 
which, before eyery decisive resolve, oppresses even 
the hearts of heroes, appeared now for a moment to 
overshadow the great mind of Gustavus Adolphus. 
"If we decide upon battle," said he, "the stake will be 
nothing less than a crown and two electorates. Fort- 
une is changeable, and the inscrutable decree of 
Heaven may, for tour sins, give the victory to our 
enemies. My kingdom, it is true, even after the loss 
of my life and my army, would still have a hope left. 
Far removed from the scene of action, defended by a 
powerful fleet, a well-guarded frontier, and a war-like 
population,it would at least be safe from the worst con- 
sequences of a defeat. But what chances of escape are 
there for you, with an enemy so close at hand?" Gus- 
tavus Adolphus displayed the modest diflfldehce of a 
hero, whom an overwhelming belief of his own strength 
did not blind to the greatness of his danger; John 
George exhibiteij the confidence of a weak man, who 
knows that he has a hero by his side. Impatient to 
rid his territories as soon as possible of the oppressive 
presence of two armies, he burned for a battle, in which 
he had no former laurels to lose. He was ready to 
march with his Saxons alone against Leipzig, and at- 
tack Tilly, At last Gusfavus acceded to his opinion; 
and it was resolved that the attack should be made 
without delay, before the arrival of Tilly's reinforce- 
ments, which were oh their way, under Altringer and 
Tiefenbach. The united Swedish and Saxon armies 
now crossed the Mulda, while the Elector returned 

Early on the morning of the 7th of Septepiber, 1631, 

1611—1632. GUSTAVUS 11. ADOLPHUS. (Continued.) 319 

the hostile armies came in sight of each other. Tilly, 
Avho, since he had neglected the opportunity of over- 
powering the Saxons before their union with the 
Swedes, was disposed to await the arrival of the re- 
inforcements, had taken up a strong and advantageous 
position not far from Leipzig, where he expected he 
should be able to avoid the battle. But the impetuos- 
ity of Pappenheim obliged him, as soon as the enemy 
were in motion, to alter his plans, and move to the 
left, in the direction of the hills which run from the 
village of Wahren towards Lendenthal. At the foot of 
these heights his army was drawn up in a single line, 
and his artillery placed upon the heights behind, from 
which it could sweep the whole extensive plain of 
Breitenfeld. The Swedish and Saxon army advanced in 
two columns, having to pass the Lober near Podehvitz, 
in Tilly's front. 

To defend the passage of this rivulet, Pappenheim 
advanced at the head of two thousand cuirassiers, 
though after great reluctance on the part of Tilly, and 
with strict orders not to commence a battle. But, in 
disobedience to this command, Pappenheim attacked 
the vanguard of the Swedes, and after a brief struggle 
was driven to retreat. To check the progress of the 
enemy, he set fire to Podelwitz, which, however, did 
not prevent the two columns from advancing and 
forming in order of battle. 

On the right, the Swedes drew up in a double line, 
the infantry in the center, divided into such small bat- 
talions as could be easily and rapidly manoeuvred 
without breaking their order; the cavalry upon their 
wings, divided in the same manner into small squad- 
rons, interspersed with bodies of musketeers, so as 


and confident of victory. The battle cry was "God 
with us." 

A cannonade of two hours commenced the battle; 
the wind, which was from the West, blew thick clouds 
of smoke and dust from the newly-ploughed and 
parched fields into the faces of the Swedes. This com- 
pelled the King insensibly to wheel Northwards, and 
the rapiditj^ with which this movement was executed 
left no time to the enemy to prevent it. 

Tilly at last left his heights, and began the first 
attack upon the Swedes; but to avoid their hot fire, 
he filed off towards the right, and fell upon the Saxons 
with such impetuosity that their line was broken, and 
the whole Saxon army thrown into confusion. The 
Elector himself retired to Eilenberg, though a few 
• regiments still maintained their ground upon the field, 
and by a bold stand saved the honor of Saxony. 
Scarcely had the confusion began ere the Croats com- 
menced plundering, and messengers were despatched 
to Munich and Vienna with the news of the victory. 

Pappenheim had thrown himself with the whole 
force of his cavalry upon the right wing of the Swedes, 
but without being able to make it waver. The King 
commanded here in person, and under him General 
Baner. Seven times did Pappenheim renew the attack, 
and seven times was he repulsed. He fled at last with 
great loss, and abandoned the field to his conqueror. 

In the meantime, Tilly, having routed the remain- 
der of the Saxons, attacked with his victorious troops 
the left wing of the Swedes. To this .wing, the 
King, as soon as he perceived the Saxons were 
thrown into disorder, had, with a ready foresight, de- 
tached a reinforcement of three regiments to cover its 

1611—1632. GUSTAVUS II. ADOLPHUS. (Continued.) 323 

flank, which the flight of the Saxons had left fexposed. 
Gustav Horn, who commanded here, showed the 
enemy's cuirassiers a spirited resistance, which the in- 
fantry, interspersed among the squadrons of horse, ma- 
terially assisted. The enemy were already beginning 
to relax the vigor of their attack, when Gustavus 
Adolphus appeared to terminate the contest. The left 
Ving of the Imperialists had been routed; and the 
King's division, having no longer any enemy to oppose, 
could now turn their arms to wherever it would be to 
the most advantage. Wheeling, therefore, with his 
right wing and main body to the left, he attacked the 
heights on which the enemy's artillery was planted. 
Gaining possession of them in a short time, he turned 
upon the enemy the full fire of their own cannon. 

The play of artillery upon their flank, and the ter- 
rible onslaught of the Swedes in front, threw his 
hitherto invincible army into confusion. A sudden re- 
treat was the only course left to Tilly, but even this 
was to be made through the midst of his enemy. The 
whole army was in disorder, with the exception of four 
regiments of veteran soldiers, who never as yet had 
fled from the field, and were resolved not to do so 
now. Closing their ranks, they broke through the 
thickest of the victorious army, and gained a small 
thicket, where they opposed a new front to the Swedes 
and maintained their resistance until night, when their 
number was reduced to six hundred men. With them 
fled the wreck of Tilly's army, and the battle was de- 
cided. The accompanying plan of the battle of Breit- 
enfeld will assist in illustrating the various positions 
of the armies during and after the close of the battle. 






A. The Swedish army formed in line of battle ready to advance. 

B. The Imperial army drawn up in line of battle awaiting the 
advance of the Swedes. 

C. The position of the Swedish army and the formation made 
during the battle. 

D. D. The Imperial army's position during the battle. Pappenheim 
commanding the Imperial left, on advancing to attack the Swedish 
right wing and the flank becomes separated from the Imperial centre — 
then the King ordered up the Swedish reserve — the rectangle was formed 
on the right as shown on the plan. Pappenheim's cavalry being broken, 
the Swedes advanced to the hill where they seized Tilly's artillery at 
Linelvald and turned it on the Imperialist flank, raking their whole 
line, D, center and right wing. 

E. Shows the advance position of the Swedes at the close of battle. 

F. The retreat and flight of the Imperial army. 

1611—1632. GUSTAVUS II. ADOLPHUS. (Continued.) 325 

Amid the dead and the wounded, Gustavus Adolph- 
us threw himself on his knees; and the first joy of his 
victory gushed forth in fervent prayer. He ordered 
his cavalry to pursue the enemy as long as the dark- 
ness of the night would permit. The pealing of the 
alarm-bells set the inhabitants of all the neighboring 
villages in motion, and utterly lost was the unhappy 
fugitive who fell into their hands. The King en- 
camped with the rest of his army between the field 
of battle and Leipzig, as it was impossible to attack 
the town the same night. Eleven thousand of the enemy 
were killed in the field, and more than five thousand 
either wounded or taken prisoners. Their whole artil- 
lery and camp fell into the hands of the Swedes, and 
more than a hundred standards and colors were taken. 
Of the Saxons about two thousand had fallen, while 
the loss of the Swedes did not exceed seven hundred, 
among whom were Teufel, Hall and Dannitz. The rout 
of the Imperialists was so complete that Tilly, on his 
retreat to Halle and Halberstadt, could not rally above 
six hundred men, or Pappenheim more than one 
thousand four hundred, so rapidly was this formidable 
army dispersed which so lately was the terror of Italy 
and Germany. 

Tilly himself owed his escape merely to chance. 
Exhausted by his wounds, he still refused to surrender 
to a Swedish captain of horse, who summoned him to 
yield; but who, when he was on the point of putting 
him to death, was himself stretched on the ground by 
a timely pistol-shot. But more grievous than danger 
or wounds was the pain of surviving his reputation, 
and of losing in a single day the fruits of a long life. 
All former victories were as nothing, since he had 


failed in gaining the one that should have crowned 
them all. Nothing remained of all his past exploits 
but the general execration which had followed them. 
Prom this period he never recovered his cheerfulness 
or his good fortune. Even his last consolation, the 
hope of revenge, was denied to him, by the express 
command of the Emperor not to risk a decisive battle. 
The disgrace of this day is to be ascribed principal- 
ly to three inistakes; his planting the cannon on the 
hills behind him, his afterwards abandoning these 
heights, and his allowing the enemy, without opposi- 
tion, to form in order of battle. But how easily might 
these mistakes have been rectified, had it not been 
for the cool presence of mind and superior genius of 
his adversary the King of Sweden. 

Tilly fled from Halle to Halberstadt, where he 
scarcely allowed time for the cure of his wounds before 
he hurried towards the Weser to recruit his force by 
the imperial garrisons in lower Saxony. 

The Elector of Saxony had not failed, after the 
danger was over, to appear in Gustavus' camp. The 
King thanked him for having advised a battle; and the 
Elector, charmed at his friendly reception, promised' 
him, in the first transports of joy, everything on the 
German soil. Gustavus set out next day for Merse- 
burg, leaving the Elector to recover Leipzig. Five 
thousand Imperialists, who had collected together 
after the defeat, and whom he met on his march, were' 
either cut in pieces or taken prisoners, of whom again 
the greater part entered into his service. Merseburg 
quickly surrendered; Halle was soon after taken, 
whither the Elector of Saxony, after making himself 

ICll— 1632. GUSTAVUS II. ADOLPHUS. (Contiuuud.) 327 

master of Leipzig, repaired to meet the King, and to 
concert their future plan of operations. 

The battle of Breitenfeld was an epoch in war, as 
it was an epoch in history. It was an epoch in war as 
military science was greatly advanced. Gustavus' mil- 
itary tactics, that of rapid movements of his brigades 
proved superior to solid and unwieldy columns. It 
was an epoch in history because it broke the back- 
bone of the Koman Catholic League and saved prot- 
estantism in Germany, thereby giving religious and 
civil liberty to the world. "^ 

Now that the Imperial army was scattered, large 
numbers of the soldiers flocked to the Swedish banner. 
The whole of Germany was open to Gustavus and it 
seemed as if nothing could prevent him from march- 
ing straight on to Vienna. 

This signal victory was hailed with delight by the 
protestants. The power of the house of Hapsburg was 
broken, and the Catholic League was shaken. Gustav- 
us had two courses open to him, either to march to 
Vienna or to secure himself in the Southwest 
and protect the protestants there. He chose 
the latter and was everywhere hailed with 
delight by the populace as the savior of 
Germany. Tilly had collected a new army. The army 
of Gustavus was recruited by the forces of several 
German Princes. A battle was fought at Lech where > 
Tilly and Maximilian had intrenched themselves. This 
battle proved fatal to Tilly who was mortally wound- 
ed and died a fevf days later. 

On the death of Tilly, owing to the rapid advance 
of the Swedes and the threatening aspect of 
Hungary, where a new leader, Eakoczy, had 


arisen, all seemed lost to the imperialists. The 
Jesuit and Spanish intrigues could not prevent 
the Emperor from again asking help of Wal- 
lenstein who had been living in disgrace on his 
estates. He accepted the command of the armies but 
on the condition that he should be supreme and inde- 
pendent. His demand was granted. 

Z Wallenstein had now gained his purpose. In a 
short time he was at the head of an army of sixty 
thousand men. The Swedes were strongly intrenched 
near Nuremberg, with sixteen thousand men. Ee-in- 
forcements arrived, but the two armies were wary of 
attacking one another. For three months they watched 
each other until sickness and starvation made inroads 
on their numbere. Both armies broke up without a 

^ The Battle of Lutzen.— Gustavus, in hope of carry- 
ing the war into Bavaria and the Catholic States, 
marched southward. Wallenstein took his course 
northward. Gustavus with rapid marches returned 
and followed the course of Wallenstein, until the two 
armies were in close proximity to the place of Tilly's 
former defeat. 

> The battle of Lutzen commenced early in the morn- 
ing of the 6th of November, 1632. Gustavus would 
scarcely have ventured on a battle had he not learned 
that Pappenheim with his corps was at a distance. A 
thick fog, that lasted until eleven o'clock, delayed the 
action and gave Pappenheim time to reach the field 
before the close of the battle. Wallenstein was the 
first on the ground and had taken possession of the 
road and prepared the ditches to form breast works 
for his musketeers. His infantry were drawn up in 

1611—1632. GUSTAVUS II. ADOLPHUS. (Continued.) 329 

squEires flanked by cavalry and guarded in front by the 
ditches, which were defended by artillery. 

Gustavus Adolphus appeared on the plain opposite 
and formed his troops in the order of attack. His dis- 
position was the same as that which had been so suc- 
cessful the year before at Breitenfeld, near Leipzig. 
Small squadrons of horse were distributed among the 
divisions of the infantry, and troops of musketeers 
placed here and there among the cavalry. The army was 
arranged in two lines, having the canal on the right 
and in the rear, the high road in front, and the town 
of Lutzen on the left. In the center the infantry 
were drawn up under the command of Count Brahe, 
the Cavalry on the wings, the artillery in front. To 
Duke Bernard was entrusted the command of the Ger- , 
man cavalry on the left wing; while on the right the 
King led on the Swedes in person, in order to excite the 
emulation of the two nations in a noble rivalry. The 
second line was formed in the same manner; and be- 
hind these was placed the reserve, commanded by Hen-,/ 
derson, a Scotchman. 

Gustavus appeared mounted, wearing no armor on 
account of a slight wound he had received at Dir- 
schaw, and rode in front of the ranks encouraging his 
troops to deeds of valor. Kneeling in front of his 
lines, the King offered up his devotions, and the whole 
army, dropping at the same moment on their knees, 
sung a morning hymn accompanied by the military 

The fog now began to lift and the two armies stood 7^ 
in full view of each other, ready for action. The King 
gave orders to attack: "Forward in the name of the , 
Lord- Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Let us vindicate to-day 




the honor of Thy Holy Name!" Brandishing his sword 
over his head, he charged the ditch at the head of his 
men; the infantry crossed and seized the battery, 
which they turned against the enemy. They pressed 
JEorward with irresistible impetuosity; the first of the 


five brigades of the imperialists was routed, as was the 
second soon after, and the third put to flight. Wallen- 
stein appeared and reformed the ranks; supported by 
three regiments of cavalry, the vanquished brigades 

1611—1632. GUSTAVUS II. ADOLPHUS. (Continued.) 331 

went again to the attack and fell upon the broken 
ranks of the Swedes. A murderous conflict ensued. 
The nearness of the adversary left no room to use fire- 
arms and the fury of the attack no time for loading: 
it was a hand to hand conflict with sabre, pike and 
musket; science gave way to brute strength. Over- 
powered by numbers the Swedes retired beyond the 
trenches only to renew the attack. 

In the meantime the King's right wing led by him- 
self in person fell upon the enemy's left. The shock 
dispersed the Poles and Croats placed here by Wallen- 
stein. Their flight created terror and confusion among 
the ranks of the imperialists. Eeport came to the 
King that his infantry were retreating over the trench- 
es and that his left wing exposed to the enemy's can- 
non was beginning to give way. The King directed 
General Horn to pursue the fleeing left wing of the 
enemy, while he hurried at the head of the cavalry 
regiment of Stenbock to repair the disorder of his own 
left. His noble charger brought him with the veloc- 
ity of lightning across the trenches ahead of the squad- 
rons who could not follow, and his shortsighted vi- 
sion brought him too close, to the enemy's line. His 
horse was shot in the neck, and another shot broke his 
left arm. He requested his adjutant to carry him off 
the field, but on turning around he was shot in the 
back by an imperial officer. He fell from his saddle 
only to be dragged along for a distance. Gustavus, 
who still lived, fell into the hands of the cuirassiers. 
His German page refused to tell his master's rank and 
was mortally wounded. The King was stripped. On 
his exclaiming, "I am the King of Sweden!" they at- 
tempted to carry him off but a charge of the Swedish 


cavalry compelling them to flee, the last Cuirassiers as 
they rushed past shot him through the head. 

The sight of the King's charger covered with blood 
galloping through the ranks with an empty saddle, 
brought dismay and terror to the troops and was a 
sign of the fate of their Eoyal Master. Wrath and 
vengeance filled the hearts of the Swedish soldiers, and 
they rushed upon the imperialists time and again, un- 
til the latter were thrown into confusion, Wallen- 
stein was carried With them; driven from the field he 
fled across the mountains of Bohemia. Night put an 
end to the conflict and the Swedes and their allies were 
left in possession of the field, which was strewn with 
corpses. Pappenheim was mortally wounded and died 
the next day. Many officers of high rank had fallen in 
the battle, and more than nine thousand men lay dead 
on the ground. 

Victory had again crowned the Swedish arms; but 
it was a dear conquest, a dearer triumph! It was not 
till the fi^ry of the conquest was over that the full 
weight of the loss sustained was felt, and the shout 
of triumph died away in a silent gloom of despair. He 
who had led them to the fharge returned not with 
them; there he lay upon the field which he had won, 
mingled with the dead bodies of the common crowd. 
After a long and almost fruitless search the corpse 
of the King was discovered, not far from the great 
stone, which, for a hundred years before had stood be- 
tween Lutzen and the canal, and which, from the mem- 
orable disaster of that day, still bears the name of the 
Stone of the Swedes. Covered with blood and wounds 
so as scarcely to be recognized, trampled beneath the 
horses' hoofs, stripped by the rude hands of plunder- 

1611—1632. GUSTAVUS II. ADOLPHUS. (Continued.) 333 

ers of his ornaments and clothes, the body of the Great 
Gustavus was drawn from beneath a heap of Swedish 
and imperialistic dead, showing the desperate nature of 
the fight that had taken place, and it was then con- 
veyed to Weissenfels, and there delivered up to the la- 
mentations of his soldiers and the last embraces of his 
Queen. The first tribute had been paid to revenge, 
and blood had atoned for the blood of the monarch; 
but now affection assumes its rights, and tears of grief 
must fiow for the man. The universal sorrow absorbs 
all individual woes. The generals, still stupefied by 
the unexpected blow, stood speechless and motionless 
around his bier, and no one trusted himself enough 
to contemplate the full extent of their loss. 

The Emperor, we are told by Khevenhuller, showed 
symptoms of deep and apparently sincere feeling at 
the sight of the King's doublet stained with blood, 
which had been stripped from him during the battle 
and carried to Vienna. "Willingly," said he, "would 
I have granted to the unfortunate Prince a longer life, 
and a safe return to his kingdom, had Germany been 
at peace." But when a trait, which is nothing more 
than a proof of a yet lingering humanity, and which 
a mere regard to appearances and even self-love would 
have extorted from the most insensible, and the ab- 
sence of which could exist only in the most inhuman 
heart, has, by a Eoman Catholic writer of modern times 
and acknowledged merit, been made the subject of the 
highest eulogium, and compared with the magnani- 
mous tears of Alexander for the fall of Darius, our dis- 
trust is excited of the other virtues of the writer's hero, 
and what is still worse, of his own ideas of moral dig- 
nity. But even such praise, whatever its amount, is 


much for one whose memory his biographer has to 
clear from thie suspicion of being privy to the assassi- 
nation of a King. 

It was scarcely to be expected that the long lean- 
ing of mankind to the marvellous would leave to the 
common course of nature the glory of ending the career 
of Gustavus Adolphus. The death of so formidable a 
rival was too important an event for the Emperor not 
to excite in his opponent a ready suspicion that what 
was so much to his interests was also the result of 
his instigation. For the execution, however, of this 
dark deed the Emperor would require the aid of a for- 
eign arm, and this it was generally believed he had 
found in Francis Albert, Duke of Saxe Lauenburg. 
The rank of the latter permitted him a free access to 
the King's person, while it at the same time seemed 
to place him above the suspicion of so foul a deed. This 
Prince, however, was in fact not incai)able of this 
atrocity, and he had moreover sufficient motives for its 

Francis Albert, the youngest of four sons of Fran- 
cis II., Duke of Lauenburg, and related by his mother's 
side to the race of Vasa, had in his early years found a 
most friendly reception at the Swedish court Some 
offence which he had committed against Gustavus 
Adolphus in the Queen's chamber was, it is said, re- 
paid by this fiery youth with a box on the ear; which, 
though immediately repented of, and amply apologized 
for, laid the foundation of an irreconcilable hate in the 
vindictive heart of the Duke. Francis Albert subse- 
quently entered the imperial service, where he rose 
"to the command of a regiment, and formed a close 
intimacy with Wallenstein, and condescended to be 

1611—1632. GUSTAVUS II. ADOLPHUS. (Continued.) 335- 

the instrument of a secret negotiation with the Saxon 
court which did little honor to his rank. Without any. 
sufficient cause being assigned, he suddenly quitted 
the Austrian service, and appeared in the King's camp 
at Nuremberg to offer his services as a volunteer. 

By his show of zeal for the protestant cause, and 
prepossessing and flattering deportment, he gained the 
heart of the King, who, warned in vain by Oxenstjema, 
continued to lavish his favor and friendship on this 
suspicious newcomer. The battle of Lutzen soon fol- 
lowed, in which Francis Albert, like an evil genius, 
kept close to the King's side and did not leave him 
till he fell. He owed, it was thought, his own safety 
amidst the fire of the enemy to a green sash which he 
wore, the color of the Imperialists. He was at any 
rate the first to convey to his friend Wallenstein the 
intelligence of the King's death. After the battle he 
exchanged the Swedish service for the Saxon; and, 
after the murder of Wallenstein, being charged with 
being an accomplice of that general, he only escaped 
the sword of justice by abjuring his faith. His last 
appearance in life was as commander of an Imperial 
army in Silesia, where he died of the wounds he had 
received before Schweidnitz. It required some effort 
to believe in the innocence of a man who had run 
through a career like this of the act charged against 
him; but, however great may be the moral and phys- 
ical possibility of his committing such a crime, it must 
be allowed that the evidence imputing it to him is 
circumstantial and not positive. Gustavus Adolphus, it 
is well known, exposed himself to danger, like the 
meanest soldier in his army, and where thousands fell 
he too might naturally meet his death. How it reached 


him remains indeed buried in mystery. History can 
only set forth the facts and circumstances relating 
to certain events, leaving it to the reader to pass judg- 
ment upon the case presented. 

/ Gustavus was extremely handsome and majestic in 
person; his eyes were blue, and their expression gentle, 
his hair and mustache golden, his manners command- 
ing, noble and conciliatory. His countenance was open 
and attractive. Historians have speculated on what 
the outcome would have been if Gustavus Adolphus 
had lived and conquered the Empire. Would he have 
assumed the Imperial crown? ^He was a protestant 
from the bottom of his heart and an enthusiast for the 
living faith. ^He could not but wish to protect the 
German protestants in thfe common faith, and for 
this purpose to have a foothold in Germany. It is quite 
clear that the Evangelical Princes of Germany at the 
time showed themselves utterly incompetent to defend 
the protestant cause, which Gustavus Adolphus had 
the talents, the will and material power to protect. If 
he had an idea of forming a protestant empire in Ger- 
many it promised advantages to Germany as well as 
to Sweden. 

Several writers have volunteered the opinion that 
Germany escaped a great danger by the death of the 
King of Sweden. But there are also at this day many 
farteighted statesmen and historians who express the 
belief that, if Gustavus had lived and carried out his 
plans, the United Germany of to-day would have 
existed from the days of the Thirty Years' War. The 
German historian Zimmerman asks what was done for 
German nationality by the house of Hapsburg. Noth- 
ing. Germany was degraded and abused. The longer 

1611—1632. GUSTAVUS II. ADOLPHUS. (Continued.) 337 

life and -success of Gustavus Adolphus would simply 
have brought about what was brought about in 1860 
by the creation of the North German Confederation, 
and in 1871 by the new German Empire — perhaps even 
more. Menzel, the historian, expresses the same opin- 
ion, and believes that a larger empire might have been 
created and the Russians checked. "Y 

Upon the death of Gustavus Adolphus the govern- 
ment of Sweden was conducted by the Council of State 
as Regent. The vast interests in Germany required 
a person with influence and power to carry out the 
plans of the late King. The government could not be 
consulted in all things. Its representative in Ger- 
many must be invested with full powers to determine 
at discretion all questions of war and peace, the ne- 
cessary alliances and the acquisitions to be made. 
liVith dictatorial power, and with the whole influence 
of the crown, which he was to represent, must this 
important magistrate be invested in order to maintain 
its dignity, to enforce unity and harmony of opera- 
tions, to give effect to his orders, and to supply the 
place of the Monarch whom he succeeded. Such a 
man was found in the Chancellor Axel Oxenstjema, 
the first minister, and, what is more, the friend of the 
deceased King, who, being acquainted with all the 
secrets of his master, versed in the politics of Ger- 
many and in the relations of the States of Europe, 
was unquestionably the instrument best fitted to carry 
out the plans of Gustavus Adolphus for the welfare 
of Sweden and Germany. 





Qustavus Adolphus' Provision for Conducting the Government During 
the War— Sorrow in Sweden over the Death of Gustavus — Oxen- 
stjerna at the Head of Affairs— The Riksdag of 1633— The live 
Councillors— Christina's title Queen Elect of the Realm— The 
Swedes in Germany— The Army 120.000— The Electors— Oxenstjer- 
na Plenipotentiary and Commander-in-Qiief— The Three. Proposi- 
tions to the German Protestants — Alliance with France — The Grants 
and Bounties by Oxenstjerna to German Princes — Dissensions be- 
tween the Generals — Movements of the Army — Battle of Nordlingen 
— The Defeat of the Protestants — Horn Prisoner — Blow to the Prot- 
estant Cause — Protestant Union Dissolved — Sweden Enters Into an 
Alliance with France — Saxony made Peace with Austria and 
Turned against Sweden — Desperate Situation — Baner's Victory over 
the Imperialists at Wittstock — The Swedes Supreme in Germany- 
Devastation of the Country — Duke Bernard's Course and Character 
— Death of the Emperor — Ferdinand III. Successor — Baner Surprises 
the Emperor and the 'Diet — Leonard Torstenson Field Marshal — His 
Tactics and Victories — Approaches Vienna — Danish Interference — 
War Declared — Torstenson Invades Denmark— Heroism of her King 
Christian IV. — Naval Battles — Swedish Colony on the Delaware — 
Its First Success — Loss to Sweden — Christina at the Head of the Gov- 
ernment — Peace with Denmark — Praise and Titles for Oxenstjerna 
— Torstenson in Germany — Vrangel Commander-in-Chief — At the 
Gates of Prague — Charles Gustavus — Peace of Westphalia — Sweden's 
Share — Internal Administration — The Queen's Extravagance — Her 
Court — Ptiksdag 1650 — Election of Charles Gustavus, Hereditary 
Prince — The People Dissatisfied with the Queen^--Her Abdication- 
Departs from Sweden — Monument at St. Peter's. 

After Gustavus Adolphus had determined to take 
part in the Thirty Years' War in Germany, and previ- 
ous to his departure from Sweden, he instructed the 


Council of State to conduct the government of Sweden 
and her dependencies during his absence and the con- 
tinuance of the war. The Council, accordingly, took 
charge . of affairs. The news of the ^King's death did 
not reach Stockholm until December 8, 1632. Great 
was the sorrow and anxiety of the Swedish people, 
when they heard that their beloved king was dead. 
It was not fear nor despair. The spirit of GustaTUS 
Adolphus was still alive and urging his friends, disci- 
ples and countrymen to follow in his footsteps and to 
continue the great work which he had begun. The 
King had, in case of his death, commended his young 
daughter, his family, and the kingdom to his faith- 
ful friend Axel Oxenstjerna, one of the ablest men 
in the qountry. Oxenstjerna was now in Germany, 
where he at once took charge of the direction of the 
war, and well it was for Sweden and Germany that 
this great diplomat happened to be where he could 
at once inspire the protestants and the generals com- 
manding the conglomerate hosts with confidence, now 
that their great hero had fallen. He it was who now, 
though far off on German soil, became the guiding 
spirit of the Council of State. He forwarded to Stock- 
holm a scheme of government which the King had ap- 
proved before his death as a guide for the Council dur- 
ing the minority of the Queen. 

The Estates were summoned to Riksdag at Stock- 
holm in February 1633, where they duly m^et and ap- 
proved the King's plan. According to this scheme the 
Council became the governing power during the re- 

The five councillors upon whom this responsibility 
devolved were Axel Oxenstjerna, Chancellor, Gabriel 

1632—1654. CHRISTINA 341 

Gustav Oxenstjerna, High Steward, Jacob de la Gar. 
die, Marshal, Carl Gyllenhjelm, Admiral, and Gabriel 
Bengt Oxenstjerna, Treasurer. Later on certain 
changes were made in the personnel. The Queen dow- 
ager and Casimir, Duke Palatine, were admitted to a 
share in the government The title of the young Queen 
was Christina "Queen Elect of the Kealm," which 
would indicate that although the hereditary settlement 
placed the crown in the line of the'Vasa family, yet, 
on account of several changes which had taken place in 
the occupancy of the throne, the Swedish people in 
Kiksdag assembled retained the privilege of electing 
their monarch. 

After the death of Gustavus Adolphus and the vic- 
tory at Lutzen the Swedes were masters of the larger 
portion of Germany, and an army of about 120,000 
men was gathered under the command of the generals 
of Sweden and her confederates. During the lifetime 
of the late King and while he, the central figure in this 
large confederation, was directing the movements of 
this vast army, all went well. But, when he was gone, 
it proved a difficult task to hold this army together. 
The Swedes were a comparatively small force, a mere 
nucleus around which the Germans concentrated, com- 
manded by German Princes and generals, the most 
powerful of whom were the Electors of Saxony and 
Brandenburg, who viewed the Swedes with jealousy. 
Axel Oxenstjerna had been appointed by the Council 
of State legal plenipotentiary of the crown of Sweden 
in the Koman Empire and commander-in-chief of all 
the armies. In a council attended by the German 
Princes, Electors and generals of the armies at Dres- 
den, Oxenstjerna placed before them three propositions 


for the carrying on of the war and the settling of the 
affairs of Germany. 

1. That the evangelical Princes and Estates of the 
itoman empire should form a union with Sweden ; and 
since her King had sacrificed his life for them she 
should be entrusted with the direction of the war; or 

2. The war should be conducted as at present un- 
der joint control, no one to conclude a separate peace; 

3. If the protestants had no further need of the 
assistance of Sweden, then the protestant Princes and 
Estates of Germany should grant a reasonable indem- 
nity to her for the expenses she had incurred. 

To these propositions no answer was then given, 
because all parties who would be affected by the deci- 
sion, if any was made at this time, were not present 
(ireat was the burden and grave were the responsibili- 
ties which rested upon the shoulders of Oxenstjerma. 
It was difficult at the same time to hold the imperi- 
alists in check and to satisfy the demands of the vari- 
ous commanders and German Princes. 

On April 9, 1633, the protestant Princes under the 
guidance of Oxenstjerma entered with Sweden into an 
alliance of which Gustavus Adolphus had laid the 
foundation. Louis XITI. of France hesitated for a 
while before joining in this alliance, saying, "It is 
time to set bounds to the progress of these Goths," but 
policy dictated his course, and he also concluded a 
treaty with Sweden. Measures dictated by equity, fa- 
vor or necessity, marked the entrance of Oxenstjema 
on the exercise of his authority as director of the war 
in Germany. The Palatinate was ceded to the heirs of 



the unfortunate Frederik, Mannheim only retaining a 
Swedish garrison. 

Oxenstjerna was surrounded by suitors. Bernard 
of Weimar availed himself of circumstances to request 
and obtain from the reluctant chancellor Swedish let- 
ters patent investing him with the duchy of Franco- 
nia. It was on the issue of these letters that Oxen- 
stjerna exclaimed, "Let it be recorded in our archives 
for eternal remembrance, that a German Prince solic- 
its this from a Swedish nobleman, and that a Swed- 
ish nobleman grants it to a German Prince, which I 
hold to be as absurd for the one to request as for the 
other to grant." This was not the chancellor's only 
grant of the same character. The generals and soldiers 
had to be satisfied in order to retain their services and 
to pursue the great work on hand. The Swedish arms 
continued to be crowned with victory. The original 
plans as prepared by the late King were adhered to, 
but dissensions began to appear between the Swed- 
ish and German generals; Duke Bernard demanded 
the position of commander-in-chief which, however, 
was conferred on field marshal Gustav Horn. The dis- 
sensions between the commanders of the Swedish and 
German protestant armies were no favorable omens 
for the success of the evangelical cause. 

The imperialists had moved their armies into Fran- 
conia and Suabia, where they ravaged the country, 
sacking and burning the cities. Duke Bernard's army 
advanced to the relief of Nordlingen and chief marshal 
Horn joined the army of Duke Bernard. A council of 
war was held. The imperialists were about 30,000 
strong, while the Swedish-German army numbered on- 
ly 18,000. Eeinforcements of several thousand men 

1632—1654. CHRISTINA. 345 

were not far away and Horn advised delay until these 
regiments could arrive; but Duke Bernard and his of- 
ficers determined to fight the following day. The im- 
petuosity of Bernard and his self-will brought about 
the most unfortunate battle that the Swedes took part 
in during the Thirty Years War. Horn and his division 
fought with desperate bravery, but were overpowered, 
surroundedand made prisoners. Horn lingered in prison 
for about eight years, when he was released. 

By the imperial victory at Nordlingen the Catholic 
League became masters of Southwestern Germany. 
Now the protestants were threatened with a repetition 
of the same barbarities which they had experienced 
prior to the time when Gustavus Adolphus entered 
Germany. This one battle was a terrible blow to the 
prestige of the Swedish arms. Some historians assert 
that no Swedish regiment took part in it, although they 
give nO authorities for this statement. General Horn 
was the Swedish commander and the Swedes received 
the blame for what really was the fault of Duke Ber- 
nard. Oxenstjerna had his second sleepless night 
when the report of the disaster at Nordlingen reached 
him; his first was on the death of Gustavus Adolphus. 
The Protestant Union of Heilbron was dissolved 
soon after. The Elector of Saxony, who had for some 
time sought an excuse to separate from the Swedes, 
made a peace at Prague with the Emperor in 1635 to 
which the protestants were invited to become parties, 
and if the Swedes were not willing to accede to the 
terms of this treaty of peace then the Germans were 
to unite and drive the foreigners out of Germany. Ma- 
ny of the German principalities and cities hastened to 
join in the treaty of Prague and make peace with the 


Emperor on the terms proposed by him. Only the 
Dake of Hesse Oassel remained steadfast to the inter- 
ests of Sweden. 

Cardinal Richelieu, who at this time directed the 
affairs of France, fearing the success of the Emperor, 
determined to take a hand in the struggle. The troops 
of France invaded the Ehenish provinces and took Al- 
sace. Duke Bernard entered the French service with 
his troops, v\'hich were supported by French gold. Ox- 
enstjerna under these embarrassing conditions made a 
personal visit to France to arrange an alliance with 
Eichelieu for the protection of the Swedish and Ger- 
man interests. Richelieu agreed to furnish 12,000 men 
to the allied army, to pay a subsidy of half a million 
livres and in case of need to place a reserve army on 
the Rhine. In return he was allowed to occupy Al- 
sace, and some fortified cities on the Rhine; a 
vote in the council of the league was given him, and 
no peace negotiations with the Emperor were to be 
made without the approval of France. 

Saxony as an ally of the Emperor of Austria de- 
clared war against Sweden. Oxenstjerna would have 
made peace with Austria, but his advances were re- 
pulsed. The war had to be continued. When Oxen- 
stjerna returned to Germany Sweden had only one ar- 
my, which was in the vicinity of Magdeburg under 
command of John Baner. Those States of the empire 
which had not accepted the peace of Prague, were com- 
pelled to throw themselves into the arms either of the 
Swedes or of the French. 

John Baner, who had been driven by the Saxon 
Elector into Mecklenburg, advanced again and at Witt- 
stock near Potsdam, on the 4th of October 1636, so ut- 

1032—1654. CHRISTINA. 347 

terly defeated the Saxon-Austrian army that by this 
one battle the credit of the Swedish arms was restored. 
By this victory Pomerania, Brandenburg, Saxony, 
Thuringia and part of Franconia fell into the hands of 
the victor, who now, to punish the defection of the 
Elector, levied heavy contributions on his country. Sax- 
ony had to pay dearly for making peace with the Em- 
peror and for turning against her former protectors — 
the Swedes. The army was not the original army of 
Gustavus Adolphus. It was a nucleus of Swedes sur- 
rounded by mercenary soldiers, who made war their 
profession; devastation, oppression and spoliation their 
trade. The countries through which the armies were 
marching and counter-marching were laid desolate. The 
farmers abandoned their land; no crops were raised; 
the houses stood empty or had been burned; all in- 
dustries ceased; famine and sickness depopulated the 
entire area. The survivors fled from the country to 
the cities, while the male population joined the army 
which offered the best pay. 

Duke Bernard under his private alliance with 
France pursued his own course during the war without 
direct unison with the Swedish generals. Although 
there was want of proper harmony the protestants 
were superior to the imperialists. Duke Bernard as a 
soldier of fortune attempted to carve out for himself 
a kingdom by the sword. But France took advantage 
of every turn- of fortune to forward her own interests. 
Duke Bernard died July 18, 1638, in his 38th year. 
He is spoken of as a great captain. He exhibited a 
beautiful spirit of humanity, high moral worth, and 
the polish bestowed by a fine education. In a time 
of general brutality, profligacy, and immorality he die- 


played a sterling Christian character, led an exemplary 
life, and was a model of manly virtue, compelling the 
respect of all who were thrown with him either in the 
army or out of it. 

How differently must history describe Ferdinand 
II., who died before Bernard, on February 15, 1637, a 
victim of religious and political bigotry. He was not 
destined to see the close of the war he had begun. 
On his death his son Ferdinand III. was elected Em- 
peror of Germany. 

Ferdinand III. was hailed with delight by protest- 
ant Germany, as he had shown himself more tolerant 
than his father towards those who differed from him 
in religion prior to his election as Emperor. But the 
Jesuits began at once to influence his conduct, and 
there was accordingly no change in the imperialists' 
attitude towards, or their decrees or edicts againct 
the protestants. He summoned the Estates to a Diet at 
Ratisbon and while in session the Emperor with all 
the members of the Diet was almost carried off by the 
Swedish field marshal, John Bauer. In the depth of 
winter Baner broke up from Bohemia, which his troops 
had laid under heavy contributions during their win- 
ter quarters, and while the Diet believed that he was 
resting qtiietly in his winter quarters in Thuringia he 
appeared on the 17th of January 1641 before Eatis- 
bon and made an assault upon the town. The ele- 
ments were against him and in favor of the Emperor 
and the Diet, for a sudden thaw broke up the ice on 
the' river and the city was saved from the Swedes. Ba- 
ner did not long survive the exposures of this winter's 
campaign. After returning with his army into Sax- 
ony in 1641 he died at Halberstadt in the prime of life. 

1632—1654. CHRISTINA. 349 

Leonard Torstenson. — Between the death of John 
Baner and the arrival of the new commander there was 
much disorder in the Swedish army caused by thev jeal- 
ousy among the officers. Leonard Torstenson was a 
disciple and companion of Gustavus Adolphus. He 
suffered from gout so much that he had to be carried 
in a litter; nevertheless, his movements were so rapid, 
his plans were so well laid, and his schemes so well de- 
fined that he surprised the enemies and won several 
victories. He soon restored order and discipline 
among the demoralized troops and thrice traversed 
Germany with incredible rapidity and brilliant suc- 
cess. The Swedes were again powerful, because their 
old North German allies one after another had 
joined them either in order to escape being subjugated 
by them or to perish with them. Torstenson marched 
victoriously through Silesia and was approaching Vi- 
enna. The Emperor prepared for flight, when Tors- 
tenson was threatened by Piccolomini. He returned, 
and on the second of November, 1642, the two armies 
met on the same plain of Breitenfeld near Leipzig 
where Gustavus Adolphus had fought and won his 
brilliant victory eleven years before. The battle was 
desperate all day long. The arms of Sweden were vic- 
torious and Piccolomini fled from the field leaving the 
ground covered with dead, while all his treasures and 
baggage fell into the hands of the victorious Torsten- 
son. An error in the instrijctions given to Torstenson 
and to the French general commanding the allies of 
Sweden prevented their joint operation, and saved Ba- 
varia from being overrun at this time. 

Torstenson pursued his advantage over the im- 


perialists.. He gained a signal victory over Gallas at 
Bernberg and Magdeburg, over Hatzfeld at Jankora 
in Bohemia, and now for a second time was approach- 
ing Vienna. The capital of the empire would have 
been lost but that the Emperor bribed Kakoczy to re- 
treat and also the French: they thus failed to join 
Torstenson who was obliged to retire toward the North, 

The Danish War. — Although peace had been estab- 
lished between Sweden and Denmark before the form- 
er became involved in the Thirty Years' War, the latter 
on account of the ascendancy of Sweden continued to 
thwart the Swedish government whenevei; an opportu- 
nity offered. Christian IV. at first took a leading part in 
the protestant cause, but after Ms defeat by the Im- 
perialists was considered of no account during the 
struggle between the contending powers. The King of 
Denmark was secretly aiding the enemies of Sweden 
under pretense of mediation. The Swedish shipping 
was constantly interfered with by Denmark in the 
Sound and Swedish merchants were caused great loss 
by the constant detention of their vessels. 

The imperialists and the Catholic League having 
been defeated in many pitched battles were now ready 
to listen to propositions of peace, and arrangements 
were made for a general congress to meet and settle 
the preliminaries to such a settlement. The Swedish 
government was now in a, position to retaliate upon 
Denmark for her many hostile acts while the Swedish 
armies were engaged in Germany. Torstenson was 
directed to re-organize his armies in Germany, by de- 
taching garrisons, and with the main body of his 
troops to make a sudden descent upon Denmark. The 
general moved northward giving out that he was pro- 

1632—1654. ■ CHRISTINA. 351 

paring to go into winter quarters. After crossing the 
Elbe he called his officers together, December 6 th, 
1643, and informed them that Denmark was their des- 
tination and promised them good quarters. The army 
continued their march with joy and soon overran Hol- 
stein and Jutland. Denmark was unprepared for the 
sudden invasion by Swedish veterans hardened in 
a hundred battles. Torstenson covered the peninsula 
of Jutland as far as Skagen and threatened the balance 
of Denmark. A Swedish army under command of 
Gustav Horn invaded Scania and took most of the 
strong places, intending to go on board the Swedish 
fleet and join Torstenson. A fleet under comnjand of 
De Ger from Holland was to co-operate with the Swed- 
ish fleet against Denmark. From this perilous situa- 
tion Denmark extricated herself by the heroic conduct 
of her old King, Christian IV., now 67 years of age. 
His fleet was in excellent shape, so he collected it and 
prepared for action, waiting for the passing of the 
Dutch vessels. The Danish fleet under command of 
the King in person made such a furious attack on the 
Hollanders that several vessels were sunk and the bal; 
lance returned to Holland. Christian IV. now sought 
the Swedish fleet commanded by Claus Fleming which 
was cruising on the Danish coast. The two fleets 
met in the summer of 1644 and a naval battle began 
accompanied by the most terrific cannonading. The 
Danish King was thrown down on the deck and se- 
verely wounded, but he picked himself up and urged 
his sailors to renewed efforts. Evening terminated the 
conflict and darkness separated the combatants. Both 
parties claimed the victory, but neither was conquered. 
The Swedish, fleet sailed into the harbor of Kiel 


where the Danish fleet renewed the battle. The 
Swedish admiral was killed by a ball from the Danish 
fleet. His second in command Carl G. Vrangel ran 
the gauntlet, brought out the Swedish fleet and passed 
the Danes; coming out into the open sea, he joined the 
Dutch fleet which" had just returned. A new. attack 
was made upon the Danish fleet between Femem and 
Laland. The battle raged with much fury during the 
entire day. Towards evening the Swedish guns proved 
their superiority, and as the Danish sailors refused to 
surrender, the fleet was totally destroyed. On land Den- 
mark suffered greatly. Her army was no match for 
the well disciplined soldiers of Sweden. The imper- 
ialists attempted a diversion in favor of Denmark but 
without success. 

The Swedish Colony on the Delaware. — Prior to the 
time when Gustavus Adolphus became involved in the 
Thirty Years' War, he had decided to establish a Swed- 
ish colony in America. So the Swedish West India 
Company was granted a charter in 1626; but the war 
in Germany prevented the King from devoting any 
further attention to this colonizing scheme. On his 
death, however. Axel Oxenstjerna encouraged the en- 
terprise, and in the fall of 1637 the Calmar Nyckel, 
an armed vessel, and the Fogel Grip, a transport, 
sailed, under the command of Peter Minuit, from 
Sweden for North America. The new settlers landed 
safely with their effects, and settled on the banks of 
the Delaware in the Spring of 1638. Delighted at be- 
ing able to exchange the ships for terra flrma, the 
colonists called the spot where they landed "Paradise 
Point" Making their way further up the river to the 
place where Wilmington is now located they found 

1632—1654. CHRISTINA. 353 

the headquarters of the Indian Chief Metasimet, from 
whom they purchased six acres of ground on which 
to build their village. Truly, a humble beginning! 
Here the Swedes built a fort, which they called 
'•'Christina" in honor of their young Sovereign, the 
Queen of Sweden. They surrounded it with a palisade 
in the general form of a square, inside which were 
erected two log houses for barracks and storage, and 
a third house to serve as a chapel, where Christian 
services were held; here too were held the first law- 
courts that were established on the river. The ground- 
work essential to the security and welfare of a civil- 
ized community — a military post. Christian worship, 
legislative sessions, and courts of justice — was now 
firmly laid, forming a solid foundation for the first 
settlement on the Delaware. And all these steps were 
taken in accordance with plans prepared by the great 
Gustavus Adolphus, in conjunction with his able 
chancellor. Axel Oxenstjerna. 

Having thus acquired a foothold, they bought an- 
other and larger tract of land from the Indians, pay- 
ing an honest price for it. As it was their custom to 
keep faith with the Indians, they were in turn treated 
as friends. The Swedes invariably recognized the 
prior rights of the natives, and by friendly purchase 
initiated that wise and pacific policy which William 
Pienn afterwards pursued with happy results to his 
followers, as well as to his own just renown. 

Swedish emigrants continued to augment the little 
settlement. John Printz was sent over from Sweden 
in 1642 as governor of the colony, but resigned in 1653 
and returned home. John Risingh, who was appointed 
to succeed him, arrived on the Delaware in 1654. Hav- 


ing got into a dispute with the Hollanders of New 
Amsterdam, now New York, he seized the Dutch fort 
at Newcastle. The governor seems to have relied more 
upon the reputation for invincible military prowess 
acquired by his country during the Thirty Years' War 
than on his few scattered subjects; and the Dutch, who 
outnumbered the Swedes twenty to one, were filled 
with indignation at such audacity. Ck)nsequently, 
Governor Stuyvesant made a memorable voyage from 
New Amsterdam with seven ships and 700 troops to 
reduce -Fort Christina with its garrison of twenty 
men. On his arrival that terrible struggle began 
which lasted for two weeks, (and which Washington 
Irving has so humorously described in his "History of 
New York by Knickerbocker" which the reader will 
do well to consult,) the final outcome of which was 
that New Sweden, on the Delaware, passed from the 
political control of Sweden to that of the Dutch, who 
in turn, and within a short time, were conquered by 
the English Puritans. However, when the American 
colonists later withdrew their allegiance from Eng- 
land, it was the casting-vote of John Morton, a Swede 
by descent, which made the United States independent 

The Swedes on the Delaware and its vicinity con- 
tinued to keep up friendly relations with the mother 
country until the middle of the past century, and the 
Swedish archbishop, by direction of the Sovereign, 
sent preachers over to conduct church services in 
Swedish, so long as any of the people survived who 
could understand the language. 

Queen Christina Assumes the Government. — At the 
outbreak of the Danish war,Ohristina, daughter of Gus- 
tavus Adolphus, had reached 18 years of age, and she 

1632—1654. tHEISTINA. 355 

assumed the control of the government in 1644. She 
was hailed with delight by a faithful people who had 
during her minority been victorious in so many en- 
counters. Oxenstjerna continued for some time to act as 
chancellor and be the guiding spirit of the government. 
The war with Denmark continued during the next year. 
Sweden was constantly victorious. France, to prevent 
the annihilation of Denmark, offered her good offices, 
and a treaty of peace was signed between the belliger- 
ents at Bromsebro, by which Swedish dominion was 
extended over several Danish provinces of the Swedish 
peninsula; and the Sound was made free in the future 
to all merchantmen. 

On the chancellor's return from the peace congress 
in Bromsebro the Queen advanced him to the dignity 
of Count of Sodemore, a reward which was made still 
more flattering by the manner in which it was con- 
ferred. He had been, the Queen observed in Council, 
a great minister to a Great King; he had been, when 
God called her father out of the world, and she was 
left a child under age, more than a guardian and in- 
structor to her; he had with his colleagues faithfully 
served his fatherland, so that everything was in good 
order on her accession to the throne; he had, although 
possessing great power, never forgotten that he owed 
her the duty of a subject; he had exhausted his claims 
on his country's gratitude by having brought the war 
with Denmark to a desirable issue and an advantage- 
ous peace, which she ascribed pre-eminently to his ca- 
pacity, skill and great qualities. Axel Oxenstjerna was 
by the testimony of friends and foes regarded as the 
greatest statesman during the most trying period that 
Europe underwent. Cardinal Mazarin said on one oc- 


casion: "If the statesmen of Europe were all on one 
boat then they ought to give the helm to Axel Oxen- 
stjema." His opponent Chanut, the French ambas- 
sador, on one occasion laid his hand on Axel Oxen- 
stjerna's shoulder and said, "Axel hie est circum quem 
totus volvitur orbis." This is the axle around which 
the whole world revolves. 

The war" in Germany continued. Torstenson left 
Holstein and marched back with his army into Ger- 
many. There he met the imperial army under Gallas 
in a pitched battle at Juterbogk and routed them. In 
the beginning of 1645 Torstenson invaded Bohemia 
where the imperialist army awaited him under Hatz- 
feld. There the bloody battle of Jankowitz was fought, 
resulting in a victory for the Swedes. Hatzfeld was 
surrounded and taken with a large portion of his 
army. The road was now open for the Swedes to be- 
siege Vienna. But what the armies of the Emperor 
could not bring about, that his gold, which had been 
freely distributed among the allies of Sweden, accom- 

Torstenson on account of impaired health resigned 
his position as commander of the army. 

Carl Gustav Vrangel was appointed general in" 
command of the Swedish armies in Germany after 
Torstenson. He changed the theatre of war to west- 
ern Europe. Brandenburg and Saxony had concluded 
an armistice. The Swedes in concert with the Frencli 
proposed to bring Bavaria to terms. Vrangel enter- 
ed Bavaria in triumph and in conjunction with the 
French defeated the Imperial and Bavarian armies. 
May 17, 1648. The Palatine Charles Gustavus of 
Sweden, now generalissimo of the armies was on his 

1632— 1C54. CHRISTINA. 357 

way from Sweden with 8,000 men. Vrangel did not 
wait for him but crossed the Danube and won the vic- 
tory alone. This was the last pitched battle of the 
war. Vrangel and Koenigsmark surprised the new 
town of Prague, seized the whole royal treasure, and 
found vast quantities of booty in the palaces of the 
grandees. Charles Gustavus joined the Swedish army 
under the walls of Prague and then began the siege 
of the old town. On November 3, 1648, messengers 
arrived with intelligence that the general peace of 
Westphalia had been signed. 

The war had lasted thirty years. It began at 
Prague; at Prague it ended. From 1641 negotiations 
had been conducted between the belligerents tending 
to a general peace. These negotiations were broken 
off and resumed according to the changing fortunes of 
the war. 

The Treaty of Peace of Westphalia, dated October 
24, 1648, consisted of two treaties, that of Munster 
where the French, and that of Osnabruck, where the 
Swedes negotiated with the Emperor — the smaller Ger- 
man powers being also represented. This peace put 
an end to the Thirty Years War, and adjusted the re- 
lations of a large part of Europe. During the progress 
of the Thirty Years War or preparatory thereto, sev- 
eral treaties had been made (some of which have been 
alluded to) — which were religio-political. They relat- 
ed to the quarrels in the German Empire and were: — 
The Protestant Union, 1606; the Catholic League, 1610; 
the treaty of Ulm, 1620; the peace of Lubeck, 1629; 
the edict of restitution, 1629 ; and the peace of Prague, 
. 1635, between the Emperor and the Elector of Sax- 


ony, to which several of the German Estates acceded, 
thus abandoning the war and the cause of Sweden. 

The provisions of the Peace of Westphalia, were in 
brief, so far as relating to Sweden, as follows: 

1. Sweden, in return for surrendering places oc- 
cupied in the war, was awarded Hither Pomerania, the 
Isle of Rugen, parts of Further Pomerania, viz: Stettin, 
Garz, Damm, Gulnow and the Isle of Wallin, the 
course of the Oder between these places, etc., with the 
expectancy of Further Pomerania in certain events; in 
addition the Archbishopric of Bremen, except the city 
of that name, the Bishopric of Werden, the town and 
port of Wismar, etc. These were to continue parts of 
the Empire of which the Sovereign of Sweden as Duke 
of Bremen, Werden and Pomerania, Prince of Rugen, 
and Lord of Wismar, was to become a member with 
three votes in the Diet; with the privilege of supreme 
jurisdiction by creating a court of last resort in the 
territory, which was established at Wismar; also the 
right of founding a University, which was placed at 
Greifswald. To Sweden was paid 5,600,000 rix-dollars. 

The Peace of Westphalia is one of the most import- 
ant treaties ever made. It established the equality of 
the three religious communities of Catholics, Luther- 
ans and Calvinists in Germany, and sought to oppose 
a perpetual barrier to further religious innovations 
and secularizations of property under ecclesiastical 
control. It rendered the several states independent 
of the Emperor and prepared the way for the subse- 
quent development of the power of Prussia which 
came to birth in the struggles of the Thirty 
Years' War. Prussia thus became the natural head 
of the protestant party and the political rival of the 

,1032--1054. CHRISTINA. 359 

house of Austria which was the chief of the Catholic 

I : This treaty of peace further introduced two foreign 
elements into the internal constitution of the Empire — 

.France and Sweden as guarantors of the peace, and 
Sweden as a member of the federal body — thus giving 

.these two powers a right of interference in the internal 
affairs of Germany. It was by virtue of this 
treaty that Sweden continued to exercise great influ- 
ence among the powers on the continent for many 
years afterwards. 

The Internal Administration of Queen Christina. — 
The Swedish government for a period of twelve 
years during the minority of the Queen had been con- 
ducted by the Council of State with Axel Oxenstjema 
as Chancellor and in fact administrator. The country 
had, in the course of a few years, risen to a position ot 
great importance among the states of Europe. It was 
still involved in war, when the sceptre was placed in 
the hand of Christina and she became the head of the 
Swedish government. Under the Swedish constitution 
her prerogatives were great and she did not fail to as- 
sert them. ' Christina had received a careful educa- 
tion and Oxenstjerna had diligently instructed her in 
the various branches of the government. But she was 
only u girl after all and had girlish whims and notions. 
She was restless and changeable, conceited and des- 
potic, growing up as she did during a time of brilliant 
victories by her people; and ascending a throne which 
had become the most renowned in Europe, it is not sur- 
prising that this young woman should have lost her 
head on such dizzy heights. She was surrounded by 
dazzling splendor. Men of great fame from Europe 


flocked to her court. She was liberal, even extrava- 
gant in her rewards, presents and promotions ; and dis- 
tributed among her favorites, titles, donations, andl 
presents with a lavish hand. 

It is well to call attention here to the dan- 
gers to which a great people subject themselves by 
placing in the hands of a young girl such vast power, 
without limitations, and Sweden had soon to regret 
that no bounds were set to her Sovereign's prerogative. 

The youthful Queen early gave to her young favor- 
ites her entire confidence and rejected the counsel of 
the experienced Axel Oxenstjerna. She fretted be- 
cause the wars would not cease and insisted upon their 
early termination whether or no an advantageous 
peace was secured. In her early years the young 
Queen had promised her h^nd to Charles Gustavus of 
Palatine her first cousin. She broke her promise, but 
vowed never to marry, and to soothe the wounded 
heart of her lover she resolved to cause him to be elect- 
ed her successor and then to resign the crown in his 

The Estates were summoned to a Riksdag in 1650 
when young Christina was crowned Queen of Sweden 
and her dependencies, the proudest title bom by any 
person on the Swedish throne. Charles Gustavus 
was at this Riksdag elected and declared to be the 
"Hereditary Prince of Sweden, with succession to his 
male heirs." 

Christina found no pleasure in performing her du- 
ties as sovereign, which soon became an irksome bur- 
den to her. The country was prosperous, but the ex- 
penses of the wars and' Christina's extravagance 
spread dissatisfaction among the people. The con- 

1632—1654. CHEISTINA. 361 

stant call for men to fill the ranks at the front was a 
severe drain upon the country and weighed heavily 
upon the people. Conaplaints were heard all over the 
land and the young Queen soon became unpopular. 
She squandered the treasures and property of the 
crown. At the Eiksdag which met at Upsala 
in 1654 many voices were neard expressing dis- 
satisfaction with the manner in which the government 
had been conducted and demanding .that the crown 
land and other grants which had been alienated by the 
Queen to courtiers and favorites should be returned to 
the possession of the crown. 

Christina, regarding herself as a demigoddess, did 
not take kindly to the criticisms of her subjects. These 
circumstances hastened her abdication, previously de- 
termined upon. 

The Abdication of Queen Christina. — The ceremony 
of the abdication of Queen Christina was a most- sol- 
emn and extraordinary affair. The Queen's renunci- 
ation took place on the morning of the 6th of June, 
1654. It was a mournful transaction. The Queen left 
her chamber, having the crown on her head, with the 
apple and scepter in her hand, clad in her coronation 
robes and a white silk atlas-kirtle, and delivered an ad- 
dress. To this Herr Shering Rosenhane replied in an 
oration, fairly composed, and fitted to the occasion. 
Thereupon her Majesty, laying aside one regalia after 
the other, descended from the throne, spoke to the He- 
reditary Prince Charles Gustavus, who was presently 
to be crowned King, and recommended to him the weal 
of his country; with laudation of eveiy order, the 
Council of State, and especially those who had been 
her guardians, with the noblest and the most moving 


exrhortations and wise sayings that could be imagined. 
Her Majesty stood and spoke thus finely unconstrain- 
ed. Sometimes a sob broke her utterances. Many 
honorable persons, both men and women, for all of 
the ladies were present, were moved to tears, seeing 
that she closed both her race and reign before God's 
enforcement, and how she stood beautiful as an angel. 
To this the King made answer fitly and gallantly. Her 
Majesty wished- to see the King immediately on the 
throne, but he would not. With that, they left the 
crown-room, and her Majesty wished to attend upon 
the King to his salon, but he refusing, attended upon 
her. Straightway, at two o'clock in the afternoon the 
King was crowned, with the usual procession. His Maj- 
esty rode to church with all the Councillors of State. 
Upon their return was held a banquet. 

The following day Christina with" her suite depart- 
ed from Upsala, staying a few days at Stockholm, 
where she went publicly to confession. Twelve ships 
of war had been equipped to convey her to Germany ,^ 
which were to await her at Calmar. Instead of this 
She took her way by Halmstad and the Sound. Only 
four Swedes formed her suite; the rest she had dis- 
missed. Coming to the brook, which then formed the 
frontier between Sweden and Denmark, she dismount- 
ed from her carriage, and leaping across it, cried, "At 
length I am free and out of Sweden, whither I hope 
never to return." 

Having left Sweden she took her departure for 
Paris and Eome. As the daughter of the greiait Gus- 
tavus Adolphus, a Queen who had voluntarily stepped 
down from the throne, she was everywhere received 
with the consideration due to her rank. She spent 

IC32— 1654. 



most of the remaining days of her life at Rome devot- 
ing herself to scientific and literary pursuits. She died 
on April 19, 1689, when sixty-three years old, and lies 
buried in St. Peter's at Eome, where a monument is 
erected to her memory on one of the pillars at the en- 
trance of the grand edifice. 

Like a brilliant meteor creating wonder and admi- 
ration Queen Christina flashed across the northern firr 
mament and sank below the horii^on of Sweden. Her 
conversion to the Roman catholic belief from the faith 
of her father, for which he and her people had poured 
out their hearts' blood, estranged her forever from her 
native country, although Axel Oxenstjerna sighed, 
"She was still the daughter of the Great Gustavus 






Frey, called Yngve. 



Fjolner, son of Yngve Frey, ruled about B. C.IOO. 


Vanland, about the beginning of the Christian Era. 


Donalde, A. D. 100. 


Dygve, A. D. 300. 



Alrek and Eric, A. D. 300, 

Yngve and Alf. 


Jorund and Eric, A. D. 400. 

Ane, the old. 


Ottar, A. D. 500. 




Braut Anund, A. D. 600. 

Ingjald Illrada, A. D. 620. 




TTar Vidfamne, A. D. 640. 

Auda, the rich, married. 

1) to Rorek 3) to Kadbert, A. D. 670. 

their son their son 

Harald Hildetand, Eandver, A. D. 700. 

his son 
bigard Eing. 
Sigurd Eing, King, died A. D. 740. 
Eagnar Lodbrok, died A. D. 775. 
Bjom Ironside, died A. D. 800. 
Erie Bjornson and Eefil, died A. D. 815. 
Edmund and Bjom of the Hill, died A. D. 829. 
Eric Edmundson, died A. D. 885. 
Bjorn E^icson, died A. D. 935. 
Eric, the Victorious, died A. D. 993. 
Olaf, the Lap-king, died A. D. 1034. 
Anund Jacob, died A. D. 1053. 
Edmund, the old, died A. D. 1060. 



Stenldl, died A. D. 106G. 

Hakon, the Eed, died A. D. 1095. 

Inge the elder and Halstan, died A. D. 1115. 

Philip (1118) and Inge the younger, died A. D. 1130. 



Sverker, died A. D. 1155. 
St. Eric, died A. D. 1160. 
Charles Sverkerson, died A. D. 1168. 
Canute Ericson, died 1195. 
Sverker Carlson, died A. D. 1310. 


Eric C'anuteson, died A. D. 1316. 
John SverkersoD^ died A. D. 1333. 
Eric Elricson, died A. D. 1350. 



Valdemdr (dethroned), died A. D. 1303. 

Magnus Ladulas, died A. D. 1390. 

Birger Magnusson (dethroned), died A. D. 1331. , ■. ■ 

Magnus Ericson "(dethroned), died A. D. 1374. 

VI. '■ ' 


Albert of Mecklenburg (dethroned), died A. D: 1413. 
Margaret, founds the Union in 1397, died A. D. 1413. 
Eric of Pomerariia (dethroiied), died A. D. 1459. 
Christopher of Bavaria, died A. D. 1448. > 
Christian I. of Oldenburg (dethroned in Sweden) died A. D. 

John (dethroned in Sweden), died 1513.. 

Christian II. The Tyrant (dethroned 1531), died A. D. 1559. 

, VII. 


Engelbert Engelbertson, A. D. 1434^1436. 
Charles Knutsbn Bonde, Administrator, A. D. 1436 — 1441. 
Bengt and Nils Oxenstjema, Administrators, A. D. 1448: 
Charles Knutson, King, died A. D. 1470. 
Archbishop Jens Oxenstjema, Prince and Governor of 
Sweden, A. D. 1457-^1464. , 

Bishop Kettil Carlson Ys^ssl, Administrator, A. T). 1464. 
Eric Axelson Tott, Administrator, A. D, 1466—1467.'^ ' 


Sten Sture the elder, Administrator, A. D. 1471 — 1503. 
Swante Nilson Sture, Administrator, A. D. 1501 — 1513. 
Sten Svanteson Sture, Administrator, 1513 — 1530. 



Gustavus I. Vasa, A. D. 1521—1560. 

Eric XIV. (dethroned), A. D. 1560—1568. 

John III., A. D. 1568—1593, 

Sigismund, A. D. 1592—1599. 

Charles IX., A. D. 1599—1611. 

GustaTus II. Adolphus, A. D. 1611—1632, 

Christina (abdicated), A. D. 1632—1654.